Although they have not yet won the London marathon, it seems like the Americans are catching up with us.
Back in November last year, I wrote about some research from Bangor University extoling the virtues of 30 minute sessions of outdoor exercise (see “Walk for Life” 14 November 2o10). Needless to say I haven’t exactly followed this advice enough – the cold weather has been my excuse. At least I have kept up with my Tai Chi in the garden most days. Now it looks as though I might not be doing the right thing. The American researchers reporting to the National Academy of Sciences, showed that a programme of aerobic exercise (walking) over a year, can increase the size of your brain by around 2%. Whereas stretching exercises like Tai Chi only increased your brain power by 1.5%.
This was a study of 120 people who had not previously exercised regularly. Being American and loving to do things bigger and better, the study was carried out at four universities at Pittsburgh, Illinois, Rice University and Ohio State (that’s an awful lot of researchers) and for good measure they made their exercise sessions last even longer — 40 minutes, 3 times a week.
What’s more they did their exercise on a “track” so having failed to win the marathon, they are obviously preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.