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Two-and-a-half hours or more of physical activity a week can boost your synapses and could help slow the natural ageing of the brain, as well as dementia, study finds

A new study suggests that regular exercise – of 150 minutes a week or more – could go a long way to arresting the decline if brain health.

Researchers in California have found that exercise keeps the brain young by producing a class of proteins, known as synaptic proteins, that enhance the connections between brain cells.

They facilitate the exchange of information between neurons, helping the brain to function effectively.

It’s already known that exercise helps stave off dementia but it was unclear how. Now, scientists have discovered why this happens – by boosting synaptic proteins – and they believe this boost could slow down the natural aging process of the brain more generally, in addition to protecting against dementia.

“Our data supports the idea that physical activity may be broadly helpful in keeping the brain communication going well,” Kaitlin Casaletto, of the University of California at San Francisco

“It seems that building synapses can help contribute the brain’s general reserves so it can remain functioning well even when there are other pathologies and injuries that accumulate with age,” she said.

“Synapses are the critical communicating junctions between nerve cells – how messages from one cell get to another. I consider them to be where magic happens when it comes to cognition. All of our thinking and memory occurs as a result of these synaptic communications,” Dr Casaletto added.

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