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4 Ways Exercise Makes You Healthier

The power of exercise is more than helping your rock that itty-bitty bikini. It can dramatically improve your health. Here's how.

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We know the power of exercise: it makes us feel good, it makes us strong and it can even lower our risk of breast cancer. And this week, exercise got more health cred—not once, but four times—from the scientific community. Here are four more reasons why all that training is doing more for you than giving you the confidence to rock a bikini.

Endurance training makes nerves fit

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Sure, your muscles benefit from cardio sessions that last 30 minutes or more, but research published in the journal Nature Communications last week found that it also improves nerve connections in those muscles. What does that mean for you? It could prevent muscle-wasting diseases, such as ALS.

Aerobic exercise could make your brain bigger…

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Your cardio workouts could be boosting the area of your brain that is responsible for keeping your memories intact, according to a small study published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

…And keep you thinking clearly for 20 years

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Think of your running and cardio class habit in your 20s as clear thinking insurance in your 40s and 50s, suggests findings published last week in the journal Neurology. Researchers had 2,747 healthy people who were around 25 years old run on a treadmill for 10 minutes and then take a cognitive test. Twenty years later, the study participants did it again. Those whose treadmill run decreased in duration performed worse on those cognitive tests than those who could go the duration.

Finally, exercise helps you live longer

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According to a presentation given at the Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society of Sport Medicine, regular cardio and strength training not only improves quality of life but can also extend a person’s lifespan up to five years.