CHICAGO (AP) -- A study is being billed as the first rigorous test of exercise on the aging brain.
The study found that brisk walking led to slight improvements on mental tests for older people with memory problems.
The results from the small Australian study were only modest. But they back up observational studies showing potential mental benefits from physical activity.
Still, the study authors caution that the results don't prove that exercise will produce meaningful improvement in brain function or memory. They also said the results should not be used to imply that exercise reduces the risk of dementia or Alzheimer's.
Study participants included 85 Australian adults aged 50 and older assigned to do at least 2 and a-half hours of weekly physical activity, mainly brisk walking, for six months. They recorded their exercise in diaries and also got phone calls and newsletters encouraging them to stick with it.
Results appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.