As a rule, the things that benefit your body below your shoulders also benefit your brain (eating nutritious whole foods and getting good quality sleep, for example). If you need another reason to start or amp up an exercise program, research shows that along with keeping your heart, muscles, and bones in good shape, physical activity seems to be one of the best ways to keep your memory and thinking skills sharp as you age. As for the “how,” research has shown that exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that governs memory. A new study suggests that physical activity may affect the elasticity of the hippocampus, too, which also helps with memory. Time to get the fitness party started! Pick an activity you enjoy that gets your heart pumping and fits into your schedule and budget. Walking, biking, swimming, dancing, or playing tennis are all fantastic choices. Plan to spend about 150 minutes a week, and if that’s intimidating, start small and build up to it. You’ll help to keep your body strong and healthy — and your brain sharp.