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In chapter nine of his book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. John Ratey lays out the physiological effects exercise produces in the aging brain.  Everyone should read this chapter.  It will give you the motivation to get up and move more often.  Since this book was published in 2008, more studies have revealed that exercise is the best method we presently know of to preserve brain function.

A July 2, 2014 New York Times article, Can Exercise Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk written by Gretchen Reynolds, discusses a recent study on structural brain changes in people who have a genetic propensity for developing dementia.  The study was unique in that it used imaging tests to assess a brain structure called the hippocampus.  The hippocampus plays a big part in memory and is often shrunken in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Despite having the genetic propensity to develop degenerative changes, the subjects who participated in regular exercise showed significantly less hippocampus atrophy than their sedentary counterparts.  The subjects who exercised had hippocampi that looked normal.

Take the time to read the attached New York Times article and get Dr. Ratey’s book.  The primary reason we should be moving around more is to keep our brain healthy.

To read the article, click on the link below:


Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS