Harvard School of Public Health researchers studied 16,466 female nurses ages 70 to 81. Those who walked an hour and a half or more per week outperformed less-active women in tests of mental functions. “We were a bit surprised that something so modest as walking would be associated with apparent cognitive benefits,” says Jennifer Weuve, the study’s author.
In a related study conducted by the University of Virginia, researchers tracked 2,257 retired men ages 71 to 93 living in Hawaii. Those who walked two miles or more daily were only half as likely to develop dementias as those who walked less than a quarter mile a day.
“People who are active tend to adhere to a healthier lifestyle and a better diet than those who are inactive,” says biostatistician Robert Abbot, lead researcher. “All these factors could be working together in determining overall vitality and how healthy our brain is.”
Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter
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