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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Physical Activity and Thinking as We Age

         Yesterday, I returned home after spending four days with some close friends Don and Vivian at their home on Gabriola.  Aside from sitting out on their back porch gazing at the beautiful clouds, ocean, and trees, we went for long walks in the forest. It was excellent activity, contrasted with hours sitting reading novels and watching movies on TV. Don took a photo of the beach area near where they live and I intend to paint a picture using the photo as a reference. I’ll put it on my blog when I finish.
         Since I am now retired Psych Info is no longer available to me unless I am inside one of Kwantlen’s libraries. So I have been searching my new set of research date banks. With the help of a sympathetic Kwantlen librarian, I came across an interesting article[i] that deals with material have been doing. Recently I have been experiencing cognitive difficulty; particularly in remembering people’s names.  I found an article in which one of the authors’ specific goals was to find a more “…concrete measure in the cognitive memory domain.
         The research included sixteen persons, the majority of them women, who were participating in a six-month physical activity program.  The average age was 71 (which incidentally is how old I am). As usual their investigation is based on previous academic research. “Overall, the majority of research review seems to suggest that an active lifestyle and more specifically aerobic exercise can slow cognitive decline in old age, even slow the effects of Alzheimer’s.”  Further, “In general, more hours of participation in physical activities were associated with a slower rate of decline in cognitive function.”   And (how great!!) “In general, memory is one of the cognitive domains that seems to benefit from physical, aerobic exercise that provides cognitive stimulation.
         In the end the authors suggest that the “…interpretation of the data should be done with caution and should be confirmed with programs lasting over a longer span of time, in both the sampling and the training period, the results are consistent with previous studies that show the benefits of an active lifestyle--physically and intellectually—are with a lower risk of cognitive deterioration in the elderly.”   That’s it for this blog entry. I think I’ll go out for a walk.

[i] Martinez-Widal, A., Prada A. and Martinez-Patino M.J.(2011).  Effect of a             combined program, of physical activity and intellectual activity in the             cognivite functioning of the elderly, Journal of Sport and Exercise ISSN `            1988-5202, pp. 462-473.


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