Exercise Triggers Brain to Slow Aging Process - Here’s How


| LAST UPDATE 01/18/2022

By Sharon Renee
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Whether it's spin class or strolls around the park, exercise is great for the body - and soul. But in addition to the endorphins being active calls for, moving around can also prevent cognitive decline. More specifically, in regards to aging adults. Here's how researchers recently linked exercise directly to brain health.

According to a new study at the University of California, San Francisco, elderly people who remain active are more likely to maintain healthy cognition. And they've actually got the science to back it up: as lead researcher Kaitlin Casaletto - professor of Neurology at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center - explained, active adults were found to contain high levels of protective proteins in their brain. "Our work is the first that uses human data to show that synaptic protein regulation is related to physical activity and may drive the beneficial cognitive outcomes we see," Casaletto further noted.

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But that's not all she revealed. According to Casaletto and her team, staying active hasn't simply benefited the average senior citizen: even those suffering from Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases were found to boast that same protective impact upon exercising. "It may be that physical activity exerts a global sustaining effect, supporting and stimulating healthy function of proteins that facilitate synaptic transmission throughout the brain," co-author of the study, William Honer, a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, added.

To their surprise, though, the cognitive effects went far beyond the hippocampus - otherwise known as the brain's source of memory. "Maintaining the integrity of these connections between neurons may be vital to fending off dementia, since the synapse is really the site where cognition happens," Casaletto explained. "Physical activity – a readily available tool – may help boost this synaptic functioning." That being said, there are many ways to be proactive when it comes to cognitive health and preventing mental health disorders. But from the sound of this new study? Hitting that treadmill might just be the first step in the right direction - literally. Check out the full report, published in the Alzheimer's Association journal, for more details. And, of course, stay tuned.

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