Friday, January 02, 2009

Yet another reason exercise is good for you

This New York Times article talks about how researchers have found that as the body loses its ability to regulate glucose, the parts of the brain responsible for memory lose blood flow. This affects not just diabetics but everyone, as glucose regulation begins to decline in one's thirties. From the article:

“When we think about diabetes, we think about heart disease and all the consequences for the rest of the body, but we usually don’t think about the brain,” he said. “This is something we’ve got to be really worried about. We need to think about their ultimate risks not only for cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders, but also about their cognitive skills, and whether they will be able to keep up with the demands of education and a fast-paced complex society. That’s the part that scares the heck out of me.”

Previous observational studies have shown that physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive decline, and studies have also found that diabetes increases the risk of dementia. Earlier studies had also found a link between Type 2 diabetes and dysfunction in the dentate gyrus.

The way to improve glucose regulation is to engage in physical activity. Also from the article:

Sheri Colberg-Ochs, an associate professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., said her research has found that regular exercise, even light physical activity, can offset the potentially negative effects of Type 2 diabetes on cognitive function. It is not clear what the mechanism is, she said, but may have something to do with the effect of insulin.

Especially since there have been few studies concluding that regular exercise is bad for you, keep this in mind when you make your new year's resolutions!

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