It's Science: Exercising Keeps Your Brain in Shape, Too

Use it or lose it, people

By Evan Bleier

 
It's Science: Exercising Keeps Your Brain in Shape, Too
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27 June 2017

In what should hardly be a revelation but is nonetheless useful as some added motivation to put that gym membership to good use, a new study found that regular exercise may protect against Alzheimer's disease.

Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the study examined 93 adults who were at risk of developing the disease because they had a parent who’d had it or had a genetic link to it.

To study the link between exercise and brain health, the subjects wore accelerometers to measure their physical activity and had the levels of glucose metabolism in their brains (a sign of strong brain and memory usage) tracked via PET scans.

While there is still much room for further testing, the researchers found that people who had a moderately intense level of physical activity (about an hour a day) were more likely to have healthy glucose metabolism patterns than those who participated in light physical activities.

“We’re showing now that a moderate-intensity active lifestyle actually boosts neuronal function,” study author Professor Ozioma Okonkwo told Time. "I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to make the argument that this probably is one of the pathways through which exercise prevents cognitive decline in middle life.”

Puts a whole new spin on “use it or lose it.”

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