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SP_COACH_DEAN SparkPoints: (93,904)
Fitness Minutes: (155,184)
Posts: 15,092
12/14/13 12:57 P

Hi, Marie

My understanding is that the hippocampus (and other brain regions) tend to atrophy as we get older, and that a number of studies have show that cardio exercise can stop and/or reverse this process. The research reports I've seen haven't indicated that NOT exercising is the primary cause of the brain shrinking--that seems to be more related to aging. But there probably haven't been many, if any, long-term studies that followed both exercisers and non-exercisers over a long period to see if there are differences in the amount of hippocampus atrophy that could be explained by lack of exercise. It seems reasonable to think that, if exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus once, it can probably do it more than once, but again, I don't know if that's been specifically studied.

Here's a link to an article about the exercise/hippocampus connection:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/obse
rvations/2011/01/31/aerobic-exercise-b
ulks-up-hippocampus-improving-memory-i
n-older-adults/

Hope this helps.

PANFRIEDTROUT Posts: 3,425
12/13/13 5:06 P

One of today's questions for SparkTrivia was this:

"True or False: Exercising regularly can increase the size of the hippocampus region of the brain."

The answer is true, which leads me to wonder if (a)
you're NOT exercising regularly, does it shrink? and (b)
if it grows, then shrinks, and you start exercising regularly again, does it get bigger?

thanks, Marie

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