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Mind and Body

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Exercise isn’t just good for your muscles. It’s good for your mind.

A ten-year study in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at more than 19,000 adults, in generally good health. Those physically fit at midlife were much less likely to get dementia.

Better fitness means less diabetes and high blood pressure, both risk factors for dementia.

Being physically active directly affects the brain: it makes it bigger and makes it work better by improving blood flow. Exercise also decreases damaging protein deposits and increases substances that improve brain function.

What this study did not do is give us an exact prescription for how much exercise is enough. However, 150 minutes each week of moderately intense physical activity does improve fitness. Some studies have even highlighted dancing as being one of the best for modifying dementia risk.

Now this study only looked at midlife fitness levels, but a recent statement from the National Institutes of Health also suggests that physical activity may actually prevent dementia. Preventing Alzheimer’s is a powerful incentive. Right now, 4.7 million people have Alzheimer’s with health care costs of 200 Billion. Expect those numbers to triple by 2050.

Exercise, Stay active, Improve your fitness, Don’t wait, Start now.