NEW YORK — Exercise does more than keep your heart healthy. It also boosts brainpower. Researchers recently found that exercise targets a region of the brain within the hippocampus that underlies normal age-related memory decline that begins around age 30 for most adults.

Using an MRI imaging technique developed at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, it was the first-ever observation of the growth of neurons within a living brain.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The next step, researchers say, is to identify the most beneficial exercise regimen.