January 10, 2020

Exercise may keep your brain healthy

By Karl Oestreich


Exercise may do more than build body strength: New research shows it might also keep brain cells in shape.

According to the study, exercise helps maintain the brain's gray matter, which is linked to various skills and thinking abilities. So, keeping your gray matter intact may help prevent thinking declines, the German researchers explained.

The report was published online Jan. 2 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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Context: Cardiorespiratory exercise — walking briskly, running, biking and just about any other exercise that gets your heart pumping — is good for your body, but can it also slow cognitive changes in your brain?

A study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases provides new evidence of an association between cardiorespiratory fitness and brain health, particularly in gray matter and total brain volume — regions of the brain involved with cognitive decline and aging.

Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and first author of the editorial, says the most striking feature of the study is the measured effect of exercise on brain structures involved in cognition, rather than motor function. "This provides indirect evidence that aerobic exercise can have a positive impact on cognitive function in addition to physical conditioning," he says. "Another important feature of the study is that these results may apply to older adults, as well. There is good evidence for the value of exercise in midlife, but it is encouraging that there can be positive effects on the brain in later life as well."

You can read more about the findings on Mayo Clinic News Network.

Contact: Susan Barber Lindquist

Tags: aging, brain health, Dr. Ronald Petersen, exercise, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Uncategorized

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