The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 5 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 74 have Alzheimer's disease, and about half of the population over 85 suffers from the condition.
Alzheimer's, which affects an individual's thoughts, memory and language skills, is the most common form of dementia among the elderly, and it can seriously inhibit their ability to perform daily tasks, according to the CDC.
However, a new study concluded that walking can slow the cognitive decline in adults who have Alzheimer's, as well as in those who don't have the disease. The research, which was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America on Nov. 29, found that walking five miles per week can protect brain function over 10 years in people who have Alzheimer's.
Cyrus Raji, from the Department of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh, said that these recent findings may give hope to some families who are negatively affected by Alzheimer's, a disease that currently has no known cure.
"Because a cure for Alzheimer's is not yet a reality, we hope to find ways of alleviating disease progression or symptoms in people who are already cognitively impaired," said Raji, who led the study.
Researchers studied 127 cognitively impaired adults, who averaged 81 years old, and found that individuals who walked at least five miles per week maintained brain volume and had slower cognitive decline.