One group was on average twenty minutes of physical activity per day, mostly on foot vigorous, and this group has performed better on tests of memory and other cognitive functions.
The team from the Western Australian Center for Health and Aging conducted a 18 month trial using two control groups with an average age in the late 60s.
The WA Director of the Center for Health and Aging, Leon Flicker, says the increase was small but significant.
"Improving the functioning of memory was a little over a point on a scale that we use," he said. "To put in perspective, it is in fact higher than the effect of some drugs that have been tested in the past that, overall, were considered ineffective. "
Professor Flicker said people who took part in memory complaints, but none was suffering from dementia. He said more research must be done and what look at what kind of exercise is the best and if it can help those who suffer from dementia.
"What we have shown that a moderate increase in physical activity produces a moderate increase in the functioning of the brain, but if a lot more activity continue to be more effective, we can not say at this stage" , he said. The test results will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association today.
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