Exercise Prevents Mental Deterioration in Aging Brains

Exercise is the new “brain food.” Even moderate physical activity can improve brain health and function, and delay the decline in cognitive function that occurs in many people as they age— according to the 30-year-long Cardiovascular Health Study by scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles. Physically active older adults had greater brain volume than sedentary people, and brain gray matter increased in older people who increased physical activity. Exercise improves the brain’s ability to learn, remember, think and reason. It promotes the creation of new nerve cells throughout the nervous system and enhances the nervous system’s plasticity— its ability to change and adapt. Exercise protects the brain as people age, helping to delay or prevent brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise is the true Fountain of Youth. (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, published online March 11, 2016)

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