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Exercising in 70s may lower risk of dementia

A new study suggests that regular exercising into one's 70s may prevent the brain from shrinking and showing signs of ageing linked to dementia.

According to the study published on Medical News Today, brain scans of 638 people aged 70 to 80 showed those who had more physical activity had less brain shrinkage over a three-year period.

The study conducted by the University Of Edinburgh in Scotland revealed that elderly people who were more physically active had fewer damaged spots in the brain's white matter, or the wiring that transmits messages around the brain.

The research also found that adults who reported higher levels of physical activity, had an increase in the brain's grey matter, the parts of the brain where messages originate.

While previous studies have shown that exercise helps reduce the risk of dementia in old age, the recent study demonstrates that exercise can stop brain shrinkage during the aging process.

Previous studies revealed that older adults without Alzheimer's disease who walked moderately for 30 to 45 minutes three days a week for a year, had a two percent increase in the volume of their hippocampus, a region of the brain important for memory.

"This study links physical exercise to fewer signs of ageing in the brain, suggesting that it may be a way of protecting our cognitive health,” said head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, Dr. Simon Ridley.

The brain tends to shrink as we age, and this shrinkage is mostly linked to poorer memory and thinking. Experts say exercise increases blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen and nutrients to brain cells.

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