A study published in the Oct. 13 online edition of the journal Neurology shows that walking six miles a week prevents the brain from shrinking, which in turn preserves memory in aging people. It’s just the latest of many studies proving that good old exercise is the best anti-aging treatment around.
The study, conducted by University of Pittsburgh scientists, lasted for nine years and tracked the exercise habits of 299 people. The researchers found that walking 72 blocks per week–about the equivalent of six to nine miles–increased gray matter in the brain. Participants who were the most avid walkers cut their risk of suffering memory problems by half.
As I’ve been out speaking about Selling the Fountain of Youth over the last several weeks, I’ve often been asked what works when it comes to slowing down the aging process? I believe this latest study confirms what I’ve been telling people: Exercise is the only anti-aging remedy that has been shown to work in scientific, controlled trials.
“If regular exercise in midlife could improve brain health and improve thinking and memory in later life, it would be one more reason to make regular exercise in people of all ages a public health imperative,” said Kirk I. Erickson in a press release. I couldn’t agree more.
One study I cite in the book showed that men who became fit decreased their risk of dieing of any disease by a whopping 44%. And you don’t have to do Mr. Universe-style workouts to reap the benefits. Many studies have shown that moderate exercise–walking, gardening, climbing stairs–for a half hour, a few times a week, is more than adequate. This latest data on the benefits of walking should only drive home that point.
Here’s my bottom line: If you want to stay young, throw out the hormone gels and pricey supplements, turn off the TV, and take a walk. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.