Walking, Exercise Helps Elderly to Keep Motor Activity in Tact: Study

For the elderly people, even mild exercises like morning walks and yoga would protect them from the effects of small areas of brain damage that can affect their movement and balancing abilities.

Many older people have small areas of damage in their brains seen on magnetic resonance imaging as white matter hyperintensities and higher levels of such damage have been linked to more problems with movement such as difficulty walking.

Researchers have found that aged people who were physically active did not show any drop in their movement abilities even when they had high levels of brain damage.

"These results underscore the importance of efforts to encourage a more active lifestyle in older people to prevent movement problems, which is a major public health challenge," said study author Debra A. Fleischman from the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago.

Researchers attribute it to possible creation of a ‘reserve’ that protects motor abilities despite age-related effect on brain with patches.

The study observed 167 people aged about 80 and they were fixed with wearable wrist monitors for 11 days to measure their exercise and physical activity or no activity. The findings show that those with lower activity levels have shown the detrimental effect strongly in their movement disability.

The results after adjustment of other factors taken into account show that exercise or yoga could affect the relationship, such as body mass index, depression and vascular disease among the elderly people.

The paper has been published in the journal Neurology,

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