How to Improve and Strengthen Motor Skills

Aging affects the brain as well as the rest of the body. With advanced age comes a decline in sensorimotor function and control. This can affect gait, balance, fine motor control, and the ability to perform activities of daily living. Seniors who lose these abilities may not be able to maintain their independence. The good news is that physical activity may offset some of the effects of aging on the brain.

Many older people have small white spots known as white matter hyperintensities (WMH) that show up on brain MRIs. An increased number of WMHs has been linked to problems with movement, such as difficulty walking. In a recent study, researchers found that the more active seniors are, the less these white spots on the brain affect motor function. For study participants in the 90 th percentile who walked one and a half hours a day, there was no association found between WMHs and motor function.