Regular exercise staves off effects of brain aging

Aerobic Exercise Can Help Preserve Brain Area Key to Memory

It also noted that there may be an increase in the size of the brain because of the exercises.

Reports state that the health of the brain of a person decreases with the age, an average brain shrinks by almost fiver percent every decade after the person reaches the age of 40.

In a first of its kind worldwide collaboration, the new study was led by researchers from Australia's National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University along with the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the UK.

Although previous studies in mice and rats have consistently shown that physical exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, until now evidence in humans has been inconsistent.

The clinical trials included scans of 737 brain scans from a variety of healthy people, people with mental illnesses and people with cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease.

In collaboration with the University of Manchester in Britain, Firth's team analyzed the results of 14 clinical trials which examined the effects of exercise programs on brain size.

The aerobic exercise included stationary cycling, walking, and treadmill running, with the length of the interventions ranging from three to 24 months with a range of 2-5 sessions per week. The length of interventions ranged from three to 24 months, with almost two to five sessions of exercises every week.

A recent study has found out that doing regular aerobic exercises could improve memory function and maintain the health of the brain as we age.

Overall, the results - published in the journal NeuroImage - showed that, while exercise had no effect on total hippocampal volume, it did significantly increase the size of the left region of the hippocampus in humans.

Lead author Dr. Joseph Firth, an NICM postdoctoral research fellow, said the study provides some of the most definitive evidence to date on the benefits of exercise for brain health.

"In other words, exercise can be seen as a maintenance programme for the brain", he added.

This is all due to a chemical your brain creates when you do any type of aerobic exercise called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), Firth says.

"However further research is needed to establish this".

Interestingly, physical exercise is one of the very few "proven" methods for maintaining brain size and functioning into older age.

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