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How Walking Can Build Up the Brain

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  • How Walking Can Build Up the Brain

    It all matters. Stay fit as best you can! -D

    How Walking Can Build Up the Brain

    Older men and women who walked for six months showed improvements in white matter and memory, while those who danced or did stretching exercises did not.

    By Gretchen Reynolds

    Published July 14, 2021, Updated July 19, 2021
    Leer en espaņol

    Exercise can freshen and renovate the white matter in our brains, potentially improving our ability to think and remember as we age, according to a new study of walking, dancing and brain health. It shows that white matter, which connects and supports the cells in our brains, remodels itself when people become more physically active. In those who remain sedentary, on the other hand, white matter tends to fray and shrink.

    The findings underscore the dynamism of our brains and how they constantly transform themselves — for better and worse — in response to how we live and move.

    The idea that adult brains can be malleable is a fairly recent finding, in scientific terms. Until the late 1990s, most researchers believed human brains were physically fixed and inflexible after early childhood. We were born, it was thought, with most of the brain cells we would ever have and could not make more. In this scenario, the structure and function of our brains would only decline with age.

    But science advanced, thankfully, and revised that gloomy forecast....

    Dave Bexfield