Exercise may improve seniors’ memory skills

Bryan Aldrige

February 21, 2012

Seniors are known to be more at risk of falling as their bodies tend to slow down with age. Elders who maintain their physical fitness by going for daily walks, swimming or taking classes may have more muscle and therefore are less likely to fall, however a new study finds that staying active might also help keep aging peoples minds sharp too.

The study, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Vancouver, was conducted by scientists from the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois.

From the data, researchers found that elders who bike or walk each day for six months to a year had 15 to 20 percent improved memory and problem solving skills in comparison to peers of a similar age who didn’t work out.

“It is aerobic exercise that is important so by starting off doing just 15 minutes a day and working up to 45 minutes to an hour of continuous working we can see some real improvements in cognition after six months to a year,” Art Kramer, the lead author said, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Keeping both mind and body strong with age is crucial for seniors to have the freedom to continue living independently. The Mayo Clinic reports that elders looking to live at home should be sure to have annual checkups with their doctors, wear sensible shoes and exercise to avoid falls that could land them in the hospital. Another way to stay safe is for elders to install medical alert systems in their houses. This way, they have access to emergency personnel in case of an accident.