Being Active is a Brain Boost for Seniors

Every Friday morning, you'll find May Segal immersed in aqua aerobics.

She may be 92, but in the water, May says she feel like a little girl.

New research out of Seattle suggests May's water workouts may do more than just make her feel young.

A six year study of more than 1700 seniors over 65 finds those who exercised 3 times a week were up to forty percent less likely to develop alzheimer's than their less active peers.

Duke University aging Researcher Dr. Harvey Cohen says this work builds on a growing history of work that has led us to believe that exercise has many positive effects.

This latest research suggests it may never be too late to start. Seniors who were the frailest at the beginning of the study reaped the biggest brain boost.

Cohen says exercise triggers a number of healthy effects - like increasing blood flow. He says exercise and physical activity have effects on lowering inflammation and can actually allow people to function better as they age physically.

May Segal believes it. She says half the the time she doesn't feel 92.

More research is needed to better understand how exercise may help protect against diseases like alzheimer's, but for now researchers say one thing is clear - Retirement is no excuse for an idle brain.

The NIA offers a free 80-page booklet, Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging, which provides consumers with valuable information, including suggested exercises.

The booklet and video may be ordered by calling 1-800-222-2225 or visiting the NIA Information Center Website.