Oct 14, 2010 11:21 AM by Bea Karnes
What do the cards hold for our brains as we age?
Like any other muscle in the body you've got to use it so you don't lose it, but new research suggests a proper workout for the mind doesn't necessarily involve crossword puzzles.
It could be as simple as putting on a pair of walking shoes.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that adults who walked about a mile a day had greater brain volume a decade later than those who didn't walk as much.
After 13 years the walkers were about half as likely to develop dementia or other memory problems.
This phenomenon held true regardless of other risk factors like a family history.
"If we exercise our physical muscles and work our cardiovascular system, so that we work our lungs and our heart, that will have an impact on our brains," says researcher Dr. Kirk Erickson.
So it seems the brain reaps all of the benefits of exercise even if it's seemingly at rest on an afternoon stroll.