Harvard Mental Health Letter

Exercise, estrogen, and executive function

Research in women suggests that lifestyle factors interact to protect the brain.

Regular physical activity has benefits for the brain. Many studies show that it can reduce stress and improve mood, particularly in people who are depressed.

More recent research suggests that exercise reduces the risk, or delays onset, of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Physical activity also helps healthy adults stay mentally sharp as they age by preserving executive function (a cluster of mental attributes that includes working memory, planning, and the ability to juggle several tasks at once).

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