Simple Solutions: Getting exercise for your brain

You work out for your body, but could all that time in the gym also help your brain?

Scientists know that humans lose brain cells as they age, but research shows you may be able to make new ones by exercising.

As your heart rate increases, blood flow to the brain does, too, which means your brain is exposed to more oxygen and releases beneficial proteins that promote the growth of new neurons.

"You don't have to become a triathlete," says Dr. Gary Small. "Just 20 minutes a day of brisk walking is associated with lowering the risk of Alzheimer's."

According to the Alzheimer's Society, combining the results of 11 studies shows that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia by about 30 percent.

For Alzheimer's disease specifically, the risk is reduced by about 45 percent.

Most of these studies involved participants who exercised three times a week for at least a year.

The bottom line is that if you want to boost your brain power, you have to boost your exercise as well.
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