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The researchers report that any amount of physical activity, including light exercise, was linked to a lower risk of dying.
Also, each extra 30 minutes a day of light intensity activity, such as gentle gardening or taking the dog for a walk, was associated with a 17% reduction in the risk of dying.
Aerobic exercise may also slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s according to a recent literature review.
“Exercise can change the brain chemistry. It can change neurotransmitters associated with depression, anxiety and stress as well as brain chemicals associated with learning,” said Carol Ewing Garber, Director of the Applied Physiology Lab at Columbia University, Teachers College, in New York City, who wasn’t involved in the study. “These changes can result in improved mood, resilience to stress and improve functions of the brain such as processing speed, attention, short term memory and cognitive flexibility among other things.”