Exercise May Protect Brain Volume by Keeping Insulin and BMI Levels Low

The study involved 134 people with an average age of 69 who had no memory problems. The people filled out surveys about their physical activity over the past year. They had brain scans to measure volume and glucose metabolism. Information was gathered on BMI and insulin levels as well as cholesterol, blood pressure and other factors.

People with the most physical activity had a higher total volume of grey matter in their brains than people with the least amount of physical activity, with an average of about 550,000 cubic millimeters (mm³) compared to about 540,000 mm³. When researchers looked only at areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease, they found the same results.

Those with the most activity also had a higher average rate of glucose metabolism in the brain than those with the least amount of activity.

Higher physical activity was not associated with how much amyloid plaque people had in their brains. Amyloid plaque is a marker for Alzheimer’s disease.

Poisnel said more research is needed to understand the mechanisms behind these relationships. “Maintaining a lower BMI through physical activity could help prevent disturbed insulin metabolism that is often seen in aging, thus promoting brain health,” Poisnel said.

The study does not prove that exercise protects brain volume. It only shows an association. A limitation of the study is that people reported their own physical activity, so they may not remember it accurately.


Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits

9 responses to “Exercise May Protect Brain Volume by Keeping Insulin and BMI Levels Low

  1. I approach health matters from the perspective that out bodies are designed to move. So moving without causing long periods of excessive strain would be the best approach.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Question, Tony: Can one gave a good low H1A score and still have pre-diabetes or blood sugar issues, especially if not eating for a while?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rohak Jain

    Hey Tony, great read! I particularly enjoyed your in-depth discussion of glucose metabolism in the brain, since it was something I hadn’t really thought of before. Being a fellow blogger myself, I also really appreciate how organized and well-formatted everything was – it definitely made the content much more digestible overall. Keep up the awesome work!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The connection between diabetes and learning difficulties deserves further exploration. It might provide insight into strategies to mitigate both conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

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