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Use it or lose it?Â
Exercising the body helps the brain. That’s the conclusion of a new study that reviewed the effects of exercise on brain functioning in humans and animals.
Based on a wide-ranging review of existing studies, researchers found a significant relationship between physical activity and later cognitive function and decreased occurrence of dementia. Better yet, the evidence suggests that the benefits may last several decades.
Studies of persons over age 65 found that those who exercised for at least 15-30 minutes at a time three times a week were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease, even if they were genetically predisposed to the disease.
The exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. One study of 62- to 70-year-olds who continued to work and retirees who moderately exercised, showed they had higher sustained levels of cerebral blood flow and superior performance on general measures of cognition as compared to the group of inactive retirees.
The review covered 40 years of research.