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Exercise and Brains

December 29, 2005

Just in case you need another reason to work out, new research shows that exercise can help keep your brain fit, as well as your body.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
What’s good for the body is good for the brain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Exercise keeps your body in shape—and it can do the same for your brain. That’s according to neuroscientist Tom Foster of the University of Florida. His team found that two-year-old rats that exercised regularly had brains that looked like those of youthful, 6-month-old rats. On the other hand, sedentary rats’ brains looked old and damaged. Foster says the mild stress of light exercise seems to prepare brain tissue to fight the greater stress of aging—called oxidative stress.

TOM FOSTER (University of Florida):
Oxidative stress is bad for just about every tissue—so it’s going to be good for your heart, it’s going to be good for your muscles, it’s going to be good for your brain to exercise.

HIRSHON:
He says to fight loss of memory and motor function in old age, people over 40 should walk 30 minutes or run one mile every day. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.