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Vol. 3, No. 4 | April 2011

 

 

 

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Why Walk?
Study Shows Walking Promotes Blood Flow to the Brain

US MED Gives Back A recent study found that brisk walking improved blood flow to the brain by as much as 15% in elderly women. The study included women aged 60 and older who walked for 30 to 50 minutes three or four times a week for three months.

 

The research, conducted at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas, suggests that it's never too late for women to reap the benefits of moderate aerobic exercise. The study began by measuring the women’s maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) and fitness levels; and developing exercise programs for the women. Not only did their cerebral blood flow increase, but their blood pressure dropped an average of 4%, and their heart rates decreased approximately 5%.

 

"There are many studies that suggest that exercise improves brain function in older adults, but we don't know exactly why the brain improves. Our study indicates it might be tied to an improvement in the supply of blood flow to the brain," Zhang said in a news release by the American Physiological Society.

Zhang also discussed the possible link between cardiovascular health and Alzheimer’s disease. Whether the increased blood flow to the brain improves learning and reasoning has yet to be determined, said Dr. Zhang. "I don't have the data to suggest a correlation between brain perfusion and cognitive function, but this is something we eventually will see after this study is completed," he says. "We do know there is strong evidence to suggest that cardiovascular risk is tied to the risk for Alzheimer's disease. We want to see how we can fight that."

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