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Why is exercise important for seniors?

Mark P. Caruso, MD
Internal Medicine
In a study published online in the journal Neurology, researchers found that daily physical activity may be able to protect motor function from age-related injury to the brain.

Researchers studied small areas of brain damage called white matter hyper-intensities, which are seen in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of many older patients. Higher levels of this damage have been linked to difficulty walking and other mobility problems, the researchers said.

The researchers found that seniors who exercised the most, even if they had high levels of brain damage, maintained their scores on 11 tests that measure movement ability.

Regular physical activity is important at any age. Exercising even for a few minutes a day can prevent or diminish many of the health problems that intensify with age, including joint paint, stiffness and swelling from arthritis. Physical activity helps maintain muscle strength, so older adults can perform day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.