Exercise seems to be a cure-all. It helps you maintain your weight, reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and even protects of your brain, in terms of brain volume and neural connections.

And now research shows that exercise can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Seattle researchers divided 41 adults into two groups, one with normal cognitive function and the second group with mild cognitive impairment.

All participants were tested before and after the testing period for a number of cognitive biomarkers. They then filled out a seven-day questionnaire to assess their level of physical activity before the study period. They were asked to describe the type and level (high intensity or low intensity) as well as the duration of activity they did on a daily basis. They also noted if their heart rate increased or if their breathing changed.

At the end of four weeks, researchers found that exercise was brain-protective and lowered several biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. They also found that, as you would expect, insulin levels also decreased as exercise increased.

To help keep your mental faculties for years to come, get off your feed and get moving. Regardless of whether you run, bike, swim, dance, or play a sport, just get out there and move your body at least five days a week for 30 to 60 minutes a day.

1Baker, LD et al. High-intensity physical activity modulates diet effects on cerebrospinal amyloid-B levels in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment. J Alzheimers Dis. 2011 Oct 4. [Epub ahead of print.]

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