Exercise may affect epilepsy

 
By Kelsey Meany • Published: November 5th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Your weekly aerobics class or weight-lifting session may be doing more for your body than just keeping it slim and trim. A new study from Sweden suggests that people who exercise regularly as young adults can reduce their risk of developing epilepsy later in life. With November being National Epilepsy Month, there isn’t a better time for the news.

More than 1 million Swedish men born between 1950 and 1987 were followed for up to 40 years with researchers tracking any diagnoses of epilepsy. The men who had a higher level of fitness at age 18 were about 80 percent less likely to develop epilepsy than those with low fitness levels.

One of the researchers said the connection is due to activity happening while the brain is still growing.

In The United States about 2.3 million adults and 470,000 children have epilepsy — with nearly 150,000 Americans developing the condition each year. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, it is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the U.S. after migraine, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is so prevalent that one in three adults knows someone with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is typified by seizures, but it affects a variety of other mental and physical functions, too. Despite many medical advances, many mysteries still surround the condition.

In addition to slimming your waistline, exercise has long been known to help protect the brain against many diseases, such as Parkinson’s, and can even aid with depression. The researchers say another benefit to using exercise to potentially combat disease is that anyone can do it — and it’s free.

So consider taking steps to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. It will surely benefit your overall health, and it might even benefit your brain.