Alzheimer's disease is an incurable memory-robbing illness and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer's Association's statistics claim that about 5 million people in the United States live with this condition, not being able to perform simple every-days' tasks.

Researchers have found a potential way to delay the onset of this illness for at least one year and therefore reduce the number of cases seen around the world. They showed that a brisk walking three times a week boosts brainpower in the elderly with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
MCI is defined as a stage between normal aging and dementia with mild forgetfulness, language difficulties, and other cognitive problems that are noticeable but do not interfere with everyday tasks.

Australian researchers wanted t check if moderate physical activity reduced the rate of cognitive decline among older adults at risk for this disorder. They tested 138 adults, with the average age of 69 years, who had self-reported memory problems but who did not meet criteria for dementia. Study participants were randomly assigned to education and usual care or a 24-week home-based exercise program. Those from the exercise group were encouraged to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week, broken down into three, 50-minute sessions. Walking was the most frequently recommended type of activity.

People from the activity program exercised 142 more minutes each week, or 20 more minutes per day, than those in the usual care group. After 6 months, participants in the physical activity group were walking about 9,000 steps a week more than the usual care group. They also had better results on cognitive tests and had better delayed recall.

The benefits of regular physical activity could be seen after 6 months and they lasted for at least a year after the program ended.

Physical activity did not only had positive effects on cognitive functioning but also on depression, quality of life, falls, cardiovascular function, and disability.