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Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind$
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Pamela M. Greenwood and Raja Parasuraman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262017145

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262017145.001.0001

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Physical Exercise

Physical Exercise

(p.81) 6 Physical Exercise
Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind

Pamela M. Greenwood

Raja Parasuraman

The MIT Press

This chapter presents the importance of physical exercise for animals and humans. The association of physical exercise with reduced morbidity and mortality is explored, along with the effects that physical inactivity has on health. The chapter looks at the benefits of physical exercise for animals, including improvement in their cognitive performance and increasing adult neurogenesis. The benefits of physical exercise for human brain function are explored, including the reduction of brain shrinkage and better spatial memory performance. The chapter also presents studies which reveal that physical exercise increases the growth of neurons in the hippocampus, and discusses changes in synaptic plasticity due to physical exercise, which result in improving neuron communication efficiency.

Keywords:   morbidity, mortality, brain shrinkage, spatial memory performance, neuron growth

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