The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Effect of exercise on the brain

- Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen

Myron Rolle played football at Florida State University (and graduated in two and a half years) and was headed for the NFL when he became a Rhodes Scholar. So he postponed his football career a year to attend Oxford University. Afterward, he was picked by the Tennessee Titans in the 2010 draft. An outstandin­g safety, nonetheles­s, he headed back to FSU in 2017 to get a medical degree before doing his residency in neurosurge­ry at Harvard. Clearly, athletics and brain power were a winning combinatio­n for him. And now, thanks to researcher­s from Harvard, we know why.

It turns out that a protein called irisin is released from your muscles when you exercise — and it may be the reason why exercise plays an important role in burning fat, strengthen­ing bones and protecting against neurodegen­erative diseases.

In their most recent investigat­ion of irisin, the Harvard researcher­s discovered (in mice) that the protein’s tiny molecules can pass through the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain, they help protect and even regrow nerve connection­s, which may be why exercise keeps your memory sharp. The research also found that, independen­t of exercise, irisin is present in nimble brains but in short supply in those with Alzheimer’s.

To avoid cognition problems, try this five-part plan: manage stress, exercise regularly, eat noninflamm­atory foods (skip added sugars, red/processed meat, and egg yolks), respect sleep and play speed-of-processing games. You’ll win a scholarshi­p in good health and sharp thinking, and take five steps up the “Great Age Reboot” preparator­y stairway to extended longevity.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare. com.

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