Aerobic exercise is good for the heart. But it also may be good for the brain.
Older women who participated in brisk walking or other aerobic training in a six-month study boosted the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain important to verbal memory and learning. The women in the study were ages 70-80.
After the study, an MRI showed that the hippocampus in the women who completed the aerobic training regimen "was significantly larger" than before the study started. Researchers concluded that regular aerobic exercise may be able to "stave off mild cognitive decline" and perhaps ward off dementia. They did note that the study was small and further research is required to definitively find a link between brain volume and cognitive performance.
The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.