Regular exercise may lower the risk that a person's sense of smell will fade, which tends to happen as people age, a new study finds.
The study included about 1,600 people ages 53 to 97 who didn't have any problems with their sense of smell at the study's start. They were followed for up to 10 years. Researchers tested the participants' ability to detect eight odors, including chocolate and coffee, three times over the course of the study. Participants also reported their exercising habits.
During the study period, about 28 percent of people developed impairment in their sense of smell, and the results showed a link between exercising habits and smelling ability, after adjusting for age and gender.
"Participants who reported exercising at least once a week long enough to work up a sweat had a decreased risk of olfactory impairment," the researchers wrote in the study, published today (Oct. 17) in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
The results also showed that the more people exercised, the lower their risk was of developing olfactory impairment.