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Exercise stops your brain shrinking: a us study found people with good fitness levels in their 40s had larger brains than their unfit peers when measured 20 years later.

The study, part of a large, ongoing research project--the Framingham Heart Study - measured people's exercise capacity and heart and blood pressure reactions to exercise during a treadmill test, at an average age of 40.

The same people were assessed about 20 years later, with a repeat exercise test and an MRI scan to determine brain volume.

People with 20% less fitness compared to the average, had smaller brains by the equivalent of one additional year of ageing. A similar effect was seen for higher blood pressure or heart rate in response to exercise.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurology. The researchers say their findings "provide new evidence that lower cardiovascular fitness and elevated exercise blood pressure and heart rate responses in early to midlife are associated with smaller brain volumes nearly two decades later, thereby linking fitness over the life course to brain health in later life".

They say that encouraging people to be fit in middle age could improve healthy brain ageing, especially for people with raised blood pressure.

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Title Annotation:World
Publication:The Lamp
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Apr 1, 2016
Words:175
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