New studies show that being physically active as you age may stop ?brain shrinkage? more than just mental exercise alone. Brain shrinkage is a process linked to declines in thinking and memory skills, and physical exercise not only protects against age-related brain changes, but also has more effect than purely mental or and social activities.
Scientists found that subjects in their 60?s and 70?s who were more physically active, including walking several times a week, had less shrinkage and damage in the ?wiring? of the brain?s communication system. That advantage remained, regardless of age, health, social position and I.Q.
As far as mental exercise, the researchers found no benefit, although there may be some when younger. Physical activities, however, also have important associations with well-being and quality of life. But it is important for older adults to continue to be mentally active as well because the findings showed only an association with physical exercise; the possibility is that people with less deterioration in their brains were simply more likely to be physically active. Nevertheless, based on the findings, it is advisable that people take up physical exercise whatever their age as well as keeping their minds sharp as well.
It is known that a healthy mind and a healthy body are linked to overall good health. Physical and mental exercise are not separate either/or choices, but compatible requirements for a long and productive life. ?For those physically challenged by age or injury, some activity is still a necessity, both for preventing further damage but also for emotional and intellectual health and well being.