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Continuing to exercise in your later years can trigger the growth of brain cells, protecting your mind from Alzheimer's


(NaturalNews) It is no secret that exercising in old age can help keep your body looking and feeling younger, but a growing body of evidence suggests that it can keep your mind young as well.

A University of Kentucky study showed that blood flow to the brain was higher in people who were fitter, while a study from the National Institutes of Health found that mice who exercised on wheels had as much as three times as many new brain cells in their hippocampus as those who were kept in cages without any exercise equipment. The hippocampus is the memory hub of the brain, and is one of the first areas on which Alzheimer's wreaks havoc.

Meanwhile, a University of Pittsburgh study discovered that taking a stroll three times a week increased the size of key brain areas such as the hippocampus by as much as 2 percent. This might not sound like very much, but this actually has the tremendous effect of taking two years off the brain's age. Interestingly, people who performed a stretching routine instead of going for walks experienced shrinking in those same brain areas.

Exeter University dementia expert, Professor Linda Clare, said that activities such as running, walking and cycling can all help the brain stay healthy for a longer period of time.

In addition, Dr. Clare Walton of the Alzheimer's Society said, "We know that what is good for the heart is good for the head and people who are physically active throughout their life have a reduced risk of developing dementia.

"Of all the lifestyle factors known to impact your risk of developing dementia, taking regular exercise seems to be one of the best things you can do."

She points out that it's not necessary to go to the gym to reap the benefits. She says that any activity that boosts the heart rate for at least 30 minutes, like a dance class, brisk walk, or game of tennis, will do the trick.

Study after study shows the connection between exercise and brain health

Countless studies have had similar findings, and one in particular carries a tremendous amount of weight. One of the longest-ever studies that looked at the connection between lifestyle choices and chronic disease, which was published in PLOS ONE, followed more than 2,000 Welsh men for a period of 35 years. Although the biggest connection they found was between exercising and dementia, they found that other factors followed closely behind, including a healthy diet, maintaining a low body weight, avoiding smoking and a limited intake of alcohol.

Nutrition also plays a role

A Mediterranean diet that is high in vegetables, fish, legumes and olive oil, and low in dairy and meat, has also been shown to reduce the risk of dementia, and to protect those who have borderline dementia, from eventually developing Alzheimer's disease.

One of the topics covered by the Natural Medicine, Healing and Wellness Summit is brain health. In the "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" talk, you can learn about the best foods for brain health, as well as important lifestyle considerations to maintain your brain functioning and memory.

The bottom line is that anyone who is concerned about his or her health should exercise regularly. There is a solid link between regular exercise and overall health, and there is simply no reason not to do it. It doesn't matter if you don't like hanging out at gyms or can't afford a personal trainer. Any type of movement will help, whether it's taking your dog for a walk around the block, doing yoga with a video in your bedroom, or kicking a ball around the playground with your kids. Everyone can find a way to move their body more that fits in with their schedule and ability level, and the benefits are simply too monumental to ignore. Keep your brain sharp and your body healthy, and get moving now!

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