Exercise Helps Keep Older Adults Healthy

by B Kenney | January 6th, 2009 | Cardio, Eating Tips

A brand new study that took place at the University of North Carolina has revealed that proper exercise helps to prevent age-related brain changes, and possibly illness, in much older adults.

According to the study presenter, Feraz Rahman, M.S., the “results show that exercise may reduce age-related changes in brain vasculature and blood flow. Other studies have shown that exercise prevents cognitive decline in the elderly. The blood vessel and flow differences may be one reason.”

olderThe study involved 12 separate and healthy adults ranging from the ages of 60 all the way to 76. The volunteers were split in half; six of them participated in aerobic exercise for more than 3 hours over the past 10 years of their life and are considered “healthy” or “active”, while the other six volunteers exercised less than an hour each week and are therefore considered “unhealthy” or “inactive”. Each of the volunteers were given an MRI, which was used to visualize cerebral blood flow and thus further helped to map blood vessels within their brains.

A lab computer later compiled all the collected information and designed a 3-dimensional image of each volunteer’s MRI scan. The models were used to study patterns between blood vessels and blood flow and decide how they correlated to “healthy” and “unhealthy” adults.

As mentioned above, the results have helped prove that “unhealthy” adults have lesser amounts of blood vessels in the brain, which means lower, as well as stints of unreliable, blood flow. This conclusively means that exercise has the ability to extend life and maintain a healthy body for adults who do so regularly.

J. Keith Smith, M.D., Ph.D; professor of radiology at UNC said, “The active adults had more small blood vessels and improved cerebral blood flow, and these findings further point out the importance of regular exercise to healthy aging.”

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