Why You Should Continue Exercising In Your 70′s

Why You Should Continue Exercising In Your 70'sExercising in your 70s may stop your brain from shrinking and showing the signs of ageing linked to dementia, say experts from Edinburgh University. Brain scans of 638 people past the age of retirement showed those who were most physically active had less brain shrinkage over a three-year period.

‘Fewer damaged areas’

Exercise did not have to be strenuous – going for a walk several times a week sufficed, the journal Neurology says. But giving the mind a workout by doing a tricky crossword had little impact. The study found no real brain-size benefit from mentally challenging activities, such as reading a book, or other pastimes such as socialising with friends and family.

When the researchers examined the brain’s white matter – the wiring that transmits messages round the brain – they found that the people over the age of 70 who were more physically active had fewer damaged areas than those who did little exercise. And they had more grey matter – the parts of the brain where the messages originate.


‘Easy thing to do’

Experts already know that our brains tend to shrink as we age and that this shrinkage is linked to poorer memory and thinking. And previous studies have shown that exercise helps reduce the risk of dementia and can slow down its onset. But scientists are still baffled about why this is.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen and nutrients to brain cells, which may be important. Or it may be that as people’s brains shrink, they become less inclined to exercise. Regardless of why, experts say the findings are good news because exercise is an easy thing to do to boost health.

How often do you exercise? Do you believe it has a positive effect on the brain? Share your favorite exercise routines with us!

Source: BBC News

Image: The Daily Star

A Glimpse Into Loneliness As A Health Issue

According to poet John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself…” Some people indeed live alone, but not in a lonely way because being lonely is not good for our health and well-being. Research shows that aside from the emotional aspect, loneliness can also shorten our lives. It is linked with poor mental health, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and dementia.

Laura Ferguson, director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, a group of organizations working to fight the problem, says loneliness is a public health issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Over the last few decades, researches have continued to show that 10% of older people feel lonely all the time. According to estimates, there are more than one million people above age 65 who always feel lonely. Professor Christina Victor from Brunel University says reducing or eliminating loneliness would surely improve health and one indication of quality of life is the quality of social relationships.

However, loneliness is not limited to the older people. Younger people, specifically those between 18 and 24 years of age, are also prone to it. An older person might get lonely because of health problems or loss of a partner. A younger person’s loneliness, on the other hand, could stem from unemployment, homesickness, or having a child.


Prof Vanessa Burholt, from the Centre of Innovative Ageing at Swansea University, says “Loneliness is the difference between your desired contact with people and the contact with people you actually have. This explains why some people with lots of friends still feel lonely. It’s a subjective thing.”

Professor Burholt’s research suggests that our surroundings and mental health can indeed affect our view of social relationships: “Depressed people find it harder to change their perception of the level of personal relationships they need. They are not able to adjust it.”

Still, there is a way out of all the bleak settings. Loneliness is not a life-long condition. People will always tend to step in and out of loneliness during different stages and events in their lives. Each person has a different need for social relationships. We should not think that all older people are lonely.

“Throughout life there are peaks and troughs,” Prof Burholt says.”We are constantly negotiating what our social resources are and whether we feel lonely or not.”

Image: Writers Cafe