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Extra exercise in midlife could protect the brain in later life

By | Sara Rigby | www.sciencefocus.com

People who do greater amounts of moderate-to-vigorously intense physical activity in middle age are less likely to show signs of brain damage 25 years later, a study has found.

Brisk walking, running and biking in midlife may be linked to better brain health in later life, new research suggests.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that the more moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity people did from middle age through to later life, the less likely they were to develop brain damage 25 years later.

The results show that physical activity may have a protective effect on the brain, the researchers believe. Better brain health could reduce the risk of developing conditions such as dementia.

“Our study suggests that getting at least an hour and 15 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity a week or more during midlife may be important throughout your lifetime for promoting brain health and preserving the actual structure of your brain,” said Dr Priya Palta, Assistant Professor of Medical Science at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre in New York City.

“In particular, engaging in more than two and a half hours of physical activity per week in middle age was associated with fewer signs of brain disease.”

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