Exercise Builds Brawn & Brains

Whether you go to the gym for fitness, weight control, muscle building or any combination of these goals, research recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests you may be getting more than you bargained for. The study reported that young, middle aged and older lab mice generated a greater number of neural stem cells when they exercised on a treadmill.

Neural stem cells differentiate into a variety of cells that have many functions in the brain, a process known as neurogenesis. When production of these stem cells decreases with the advancement of age, learning and memory functions can be impaired. Researchers found that neural stem cell production improved by as much as 200% in middle-aged mice who exercised, and the effect was even more pronounced in younger mice.

The Bigger Picture: It's pretty much conventional wisdom that regular exercise presents any number of health benefits while also promoting greater physical energy and general mood enhancement. This study makes working out seem like an even smarter idea. If you can keep feeling and thinking young, that's reason enough to get with the program.
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