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London, Oct 14: Walking a mile a day could keep memory loss and Alzheimer's disease at bay, a new research has claimed.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that men and women who walk at least six miles (about 9.5km) a week are mentally sharper in later life than those who don't walk much. Our brains, according to the researchers, decrease in size as we age, but regular exercise may protect it in later life and could cut the risks of memory problems by half, The Telegraph reported.

The team studied 299 dementia-free elderly individuals and recorded the distance they walked each week. For nine years, brain scans were carried out to measure their brain size, and four years further on they were tested for cognitive impairment.

It was found that those who walked at least six to nine miles each week had greater grey matter at the nine year point than those who walked shorter distances.