Brisk walking led to slight improvements on mental tests for older people with memory problems in what is billed as the first rigorous test of exercise on the aging brain. The results from the small Australian study were only modest. But they back up observational studies showing potential mental benefits from physical activity.
The effects of exercise were at least as good, if not better, than those seen with drugs approved to aid mental function in Alzheimer's disease, according to experts not involved in the study. Still, the study authors cautioned that the results don't prove that exercise will produce meaningful improvement in brain function or memory. They also said the results should not be used to imply that exercise reduces the risk of dementia or Alzheimer's - that can't be determined from this type of study.
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