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Exercise and the brain

I’ve long felt that the only strongly efficacious remedy for prevention and/or mitigation of a wide variety of health issues is regular vigorous exercise. I make it a point to burn (on average) about six thousand (6000) calories (Kcal) per week. Shown below is a portion of an 800 calorie ascent (estimated).

Cycling paradise—Norway

Now, there is a fascinating feature in the March 26, 2007 Newsweek magazine about how regular exercise is not only correlated to better physical health, but better mental health as well, including recent findings of neurogenesis—the creation of new nerve cells and their interconnects. There is also speculation that the path to avoiding degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s might be as simple as exercising throughout life. But since exercise doesn’t come in a pill or with pepperoni, the findings aren’t likely to have much impact on the general population, and it will be difficult to get the drug companies excited.

The state of America’s health

These findings should come as no surprise to those of us who are both self-aware and who already enjoy regular vigorous exercise—it’s like hearing a newsflash that the sky is blue most of the time. And certainly, establishing the scientific basis for the “obvious” is required in order to engage public policy makers. And like any pill, there is no cure-all—health is influenced by many mental, physical, genetic, environmental and dietary factors.

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