Exercise and Brain Health!

Monday Apr 12, 2010

It is immediately recognized that exercise promotes good health of the cardiovascular, muscular, and skeletal systems; however the field of exercise and cognitive function is not as familiar.

Studies in ageing humans show that endurance exercise is protective against cognitive decline; especially in planning and memory.

It was once believed that the adult brain was incapable of producing new neurons. It is now known that neurogenesis (the process by which neurons are generated) is continuous in adults as well. Moreover, now it is believed that exercise stimulates the production of new nerve cells in the brain.

Research suggests that aerobic exercise in children is associated with higher measures of responsiveness, faster cognitive processing speed, and better academic performance (Medical Science and Sports Exercise, 2008).  Even though level of physical activity can be confounded by other factors such as IQ, social, or economic statues, these finding are very consistent and convincing.

Exercise has also been recently shown to increase brain volume in healthy exercising adults.  In one study researches used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine brain volume.  People aged 60–79 were randomly assigned to aerobic or non-aerobic exercise groups (1 hour three times a week for 6 months). Adults exercising aerobically showed increased brain volume in frontal lobe regions implicated in higher order processing, attention control and memory (Journal of Gerontology, 2006).

It is believed that in most societies today people are less active than in previous generations.  This could affect the next generations’ cognitive development.  Much research suggests that exercise has an affect on cognitive development, and improvement.  Physical activity during childhood may optimize cognitive development promoting lasting changes in brain structure and function.

Just another great reason for you to exercise; for overall body and brain health!

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Great post! 🙂

April 12th, 2010 | 2:09 pm
Adan Dibartolo:

Sometimes I think all this aerobic stuff can actually be bad for you. It puts such a strain on the body. I am not sure what I think about all this exercise craze yet.

April 20th, 2010 | 9:18 pm

Aerobic exercise is good for your overall health due to its many physiological benefits. It has been proven numerous times scientifically as well as by individual experience to improve and prevent many medical conditions, and overall body health. Just remember to find the right kind of exercise for you, it can be moderate to low intensity, and remember to also maintain a positive energy balance. This will not be bad for you, and should not put any strain on the body, but rather be good for your body. If you have any further questions or concerns, you should also consult your doctor, or a professional trainer.

April 22nd, 2010 | 11:33 am
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