Exercise also promotes brain health by helping other parts of the body:
It helps maintain a robust cardiovascular system, which ensures a good supply of oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
It also helps reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure- problems that can lead to brain-damaging cardiovascular problems, including strokes, and increase the odds of developing dementia.
In a study with 199 women, published in the journal Neurology in 2018, it demonstrated the potential brain-protective effect of exercise- specifically, protection against dementia.
The participants were given an exercise test when the study began in 1968 and were then tested for dementia six times over the next 44 years. A total of 40 women met the criteria for high fitness, while 92 of them had medium fitness, and 59 had low fitness.
Compared with women who had medium fitness in midlife, those with high fitness were 88% less likely to develop dementia- and among high-fitness women who did develop dementia, the age of onset was an average of 11 years later than those with medium fitness.