A stronger heart may keep your brain young

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Source:  Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

You probably know that regular exercise offers a wealth of benefits for your body, like staving off excess weight and chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. But mounting evidence suggests that exercise is also good for your brain. A study published in the journal Neurology links better cardiovascular fitness to improved thinking skills in older adults.

The findings add to our understanding of how exercise benefits the brain, which seems to stem from several possible mechanisms, says Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. “It’s not just about delivering more oxygen to the brain, although that’s part of it,” he says. Having a fit, healthy cardiovascular system also protects against vascular dementia, which happens when blood vessels feeding the brain become blocked or narrowed, leading to memory and other cognitive problems.

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