Exercise is the natural and most effective panacea for illness and disease. Health promotion efforts have informed on the benefits of exercise to prevent obesity and cancer and the means by which cardiovascular health is improved with aerobic activity for decades. According to new research, moderate exercise can also reverse the brain shrinkage that occurs as people age.

Scientists discover moderate exercise can stimulate the production of brain neurons in older adults. As such, the fitness phrase “use it or lose it” may be applied to brain health as well as physical health.

Until recently, scientists believed older brains could not grow new neurons. However, a team at the University of Illinois has evidence showing that three hours of brisk walking per day can trigger biochemical changes that increase production of new brain neurons.

The finding is reported in a special section devoted to exercising and aging in the latest issue of The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (Vol. 61A, No. 11).

Source: The Journal of Gerontology