WASHINGTON, April 14 (UPI) -- Women age 60 and older walking briskly three or four times a week improved blood flow to the brain by 15 percent in just three months, U.S. researchers say.
Lead researcher Rong Zhang of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital's Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas says the researchers used Doppler ultrasonography to measure blood flow in the women's internal carotid arteries -- which supply the brain with glucose and oxygen-rich blood for oxygen consumption.
The research team tailored training programs for each woman geared to her fitness level.
Training started at a base pace of 50 percent to 60 percent of the participants' oxygen consumption for 30 minutes per session, three times per week. By the third month, the team had increased the sessions to 50 minutes each, four times per week, and added two more sessions at 70 percent to 80 percent of the women's oxygen consumption for 30 minutes, the study says.
Improved blood flow to the brain boosts oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to the brain, which are vital for the brain's health. The blood also washes away brain metabolic wastes such as amyloid-beta protein released into the brain's blood vessels.
Amyloid-beta protein has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease, Zhang says.
The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington.