Keeping Your Brain Healthy and Smart Keep Active and Learn New Things

For years fitness enthusiasts have suspected that exercise positively affects the brain as well as the body. But while it seemed logical that an active lifestyle would help the brain, the scientific evidence was lacking.Now several biological studies indicate that working out does benefit the brain.The reasons to get moving are greater than you think.

Now researchers are finding biological evidence that exercise benefits specific brain mechanisms.Much of the new research suggests that exercise positively affects the hippocampus, a sea-horse shaped brain structure that is vital for memory and learning.In one recent study, researchers found that adult mice doubled their number of new brain cells in the hippocampus when they had access to running wheels.

The fact that the mammalian adult brain can increase its number of brain cells is surprising in itself.It was once thought that the brain stopped producing new brain cells early in its development. And presumably brain power dimmed as cells died over the years.But in the past decade, researchers have found definitive evidence that the brain continues to generate new brain cells throughout life, even in humans. Studies indicated that challenging environments, which included a number of components, such as pumped-up learning opportunities, social interactions and physical activities, were key to boosting the growth.

What does this mean for humans? We can keep our brains healthy by entering into new situations, new games, and new social group activities. And if we can keep learning new things and engage in physical activities, we can continue growing new brain cells.We can redefine "senior moments," if we take advantage of opportunities to learn and move.

.Patsi Krakoff, Psy.

D. is a retired psychologist who writes a blog for Keeping Your Brain Healthy at http://www.brain-FX.

com. She is founder of Mind-FX Science, LLC, producer of healthy supplements for the brain called "Fuel for the Mind." She can be contacted through her blog.

By: Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D.

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Safe Shopping

Almost everywhere we shop-from the toy store at the mall to an online linen warehouse-we are asked to provide personal information. Some stores ask for a zip code or phone number at the checkout. Online sites may demand more,

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Shopping Online Safely, There can be real advantages to shopping online: Prices are sometimes cheaper and product selection greater; it's often easier to find information about a particular product; parking isn't an issue; and the Internet is open 24 hours a day. But online shopping also has inherent risks and disadvantages,