Study: Exercising in Your 70s May Prevent Brain Shrinkage

According to a new study, exercising in your 70s could stop your brain from shrinking and showing the signs of aging linked to dementia.

The brain scans of 638 people beyond the age of retirement showed that those who were the most physically active had less brain shrinkage over a three-year period. The exercise didn't have to be strenuous. Even just going for a walk several times a week was sufficient.

The researchers found that doing a tricky crossword puzzle had little impact, and found no real brain-size benefit from mentally challenging activities, or other pasttimes like socializing with friends and family.

When examining the brain's white matter, which is essentially the wiring that transmits messages around the brain, they found that those over the age of 70 who were move physically active had fewer damaged areas than those who did little to know exercise. They also had more grey matter, or parts of the brain where the messages originate.

It is already known by experts that our brains shrink as we age, and that the shrinkage is linked to poorer memory and thinking.