It is the common perception of elderly people that exercise is not meant for them. Many think that it is too strenuous and harms them at that age. This was proved wrong by researchers from Edinburgh University. The research published by American Heart Association journal Stroke, studied 638 aged people whose brain scans showed that those who are more physically active has less vascular related Dementia (mental deterioration of organic or functional origin) and brain shrinkage.
As the age advances, the functional units of the brain called neurons decline leading to decrease in the grey matter of the brain. Grey matter is the nervous tissue of cerebral cortex that helps in thinking ability. Shrinkage in the cerebral cortex leads to a disease condition called Dementia. Doctors in Europe indicated that elderly people, who are involved in any kind of physical activity, at least for 90 minutes a week, have lower risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (Impaired memory followed by impaired thought and speech).
Physical activity makes sure that enough oxygen and nourishment is supplied to the brain by improving the vascular activity. This keeps the brain cells active and functional for longer time. Regular exercise provides many health benefits, also decreases other age related diseases like blood pressure, diabetes and osteoarthritis, which will have indirect effect on the mental ability. Exercise also improves the ability to cope with age related stress. While aging cannot be avoided, why not make it better and enjoyable with smaller changes in life style and with some sort of physical activity.