Harvard Women's Health Watch

In the journals: More studies find that regular exercise helps protect aging brains

If your New Year's resolve to become more physically active has started to flag, the findings of several studies may help renew your commitment. Research has already documented that higher levels of physical activity can help prevent or ameliorate many conditions that reduce function and hamper independence as we get older, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. Various types of exercise have also been linked with a reduced risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Now four studies, including two randomized trials, add further evidence that regular exercise may be the best thing we can do to stay not only physically healthy but also cognitively sharp into old age. One trial even suggests that exercise can help reverse early cognitive impairment in older women.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »