The belief that after a certain age the brain falls into a slow but inevitable decline is nothing more than an unhealthy rumor. In truth, our brain is always able to regenerate, even in adulthood. A study, published in the authoritative journal NeuroImage and promptly reported by the Veronesi Foundation, shows how our cognitive abilities can be safeguarded through physical activity. Specifically, we find out why walking can stop brain decline and strengthen memory in over 60s. Researchers have shown that movement is the worst enemy of brain deterioration, but at the same time stimulates white matter remodeling. Walking would be the best way to delay aging.
After years of guessing, finally confirmation that physical activity is good for the brains of the elderly
The Neuroimaging is a branch of science capable of investigating in detail the depths of our body, in particular our brain. Thanks to this technology, we can keep an eye on the progress of cell life step by step. Precisely through neuroimaging, researchers had already captured the brain’s ability to regenerate its cells in the 1990s. The process is called neurogenesi, and is, essentially, the regeneration of neurons. In the following years, several studies have tried to associate neuronal rebirth with physical activity, always focusing on the gray matter. The turning point comes when scholars focus on white matter, or the set of neuronal axons that go from the medulla to the brain. White matter is subject to sharp decline in the elderly. But physical activity has been proven to stop this decline by stimulating cell regeneration of white matter.
Let’s find out why walking can stop brain decline and strengthen memory in over 60s
The study took a statistical sample of as many as 250 sedentary over 60s, recording their neuronal abilities through tests and resonances. The researchers then divided the sample into 3 groups. The first group began to train and stretch, the second to walk, while the third started a dance class. The frequency of the activities was three times a week, with medium intensity. The walk, specifically, lasted 40 minutes, at a brisk pace.
After six months of activity, the sample was examined again, again through memory tests and MRI scans. The result: the dancers and walkers exhibited white matter regeneration. Only the walkers, however, showed improved skills in memory tests. Walking briskly seems to be the best nutrient for our brains, according to science.
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