Exercise front and center in combat against depression, aging

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New studies are stressing the importance of healthy lifestyle choices in treating depression and the effects of aging.

The research focused on the effects of mind/body awareness, exercise and diet. It was presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of news about brain science and health.

Key findings

The choices people make throughout life actively impact the brain. As we live longer, these lifestyle choices also affect aging and quality of life. The researchers discussed the importance of these findings, including:

  1. As little as 12 consecutive days of exercise in aging rats helped preserve and improve movement function.
  2. Yoga or meditation, which increase mind/body awareness, help people achieve a higher level of effective brain-computer interface.
  3. Long-term exercise in aging rats improved memory function and increased the number of blood vessels in the white matter of the brain.
  4. Regular exercise helped young people overcome their depression.
  5. A low-calorie diet in middle age protected rats against the effects of aging on physical movement.

Exercise and healthy aging

"We all know that keeping fit is critically important to a healthy lifestyle, from combating the effects of aging to boosting our mood," explained press conference moderator Teresa Liu-Ambrose of the University of British Columbia, an expert on exercise and its role in healthy aging. "Today's results begin to show us not only how different types of exercise interventions can improve our lives, but how other types of lifestyle behaviors, from diet to meditative practice, can help us achieve wellness in our body and our brain as we age."

Sources: MedicalNewsToday, Neuroscience 2013

 
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