Not Just Weight Loss, Exercise Helps Make Your Brain Smarter Too

Exercise is good for your physical health. But it is also excellent for your brain.

Updated: March 25, 2019 10:57 AM IST

By Lifestyle Staff | Edited by Upneet Pansare

Exercise and brain
Exercise is good for your physical and mental health (File Photo)

Weight loss, toning up, keeping heart diseases, stroke and diabetes at bay are some of the most common reasons why people exercise. And now, a research has shown, exercise can actually help your brain become sharper. A study from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) in San Francisco has revealed how consistent exercise can help make your brain sharper in the same way as regular running sessions prepare your body for longer running sessions. Long-term exercise is able to exert positive changes in the brain. What does it mean when your brain gets sharper? It simply means that your cognitive skills improve over time. Several research studies have shown that exercise, in turn, could help you delay diseases that cause cognitive decline including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Any form of physical activity has been shown to bring about several benefits to the brain. This is why exercise should definitely feature as one of the most important lifestyle changes that you can make in your life.

Endurance exercise has been shown to may help prevent cognitive decline by helping keep your brain working efficiently as you age. A study by the University of Texas in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that a person’s cardio fitness and cognitive function in middle-aged adults were linked. Moderate or intensive aerobic exercise for at least four days or seven hours a week was shown to help better vascular function (improving blood circulation in the brain). Age-related decline can thus be preventable if you do aerobic exercise regularly.

How does exercise help your brain?
There are many ways in which exercise helps boost your brain function. In a young adult brain, blood flow and cognitive function reach their peak. What happens when you exercise is that it helps increase blood flow to your brain making the oxygen more available in the brain which helps it function better. A study by the University of Michigan, in fact, showed that women who exercised regularly had higher oxygen availability in the anterior frontal region of the brain. This helps them perform better in cognitive tasks.

Want a better memory? Keep forgetting things regularly? The solution again lies in exercise. A study has shown that people who are regularly into physical fitness have better long-term memory. Experts in the field suggest that moderate-intensity aerobic exercises should be done for a minimum of 150 minutes in a week. This could be walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.

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Published Date: March 25, 2019 10:49 AM IST

Updated Date: March 25, 2019 10:57 AM IST