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Exercise Boosts Brain Functions, Study Finds

Dec 27th, 2012

Exercise Boosts Brain FunctionsWe all know that exercise is important for our physical health. It helps us maintain ideal weight, keeps our heart healthy, helps us avoid diseases, and many more. Recently, scientists have confirmed that the right amount of exercise boosts brain functions too.

The study, published online in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, investigated the effects of physical activity on the brain. Researchers found that exercise can help maintain and even improve cognitive functions throughout life.

Our mental capabilities are expected diminish as we age. However, the study has shown that aerobic exercises can help ease the decline of specific cognitive functions like functioning memory, task switching, selective attention, etc.

Researchers found that older adults who exercise regularly had higher scores in mental tests compared to their unfit peers. They also found that volunteers who participated in aerobic exercises showed improvement in mental tests compared to those who only did stretching and toning exercises.

The study noted that aerobic exercises did not have the same effect on cognitive functions among children and adults except for memory tasks. Fitter individuals in this age group showed an improvement in working memory and the volume of information that could be handled. However, this doesn’t mean that the other areas of cognitive function of younger individuals cannot benefit from regular exercise, the authors added.

The authors concluded that regular exercise is a simple and effective way to optimize cognitive functions. They also recommend future research into the effects of exercise on children and younger adults.

You don’t have to make drastic lifestyle changes for your exercises to work either. Even simple changes can help improve brain functions. Here are some strategies you can use everyday:

1. Take the stairs. Sure, using the elevator or escalator may be quicker, but walking up the stairs whenever you can is a great way to improve blood flow to the brain.

2. Park farther away. Most people like to find parking spaces nearest their destination and lose the opportunity to burn a few calories and increase circulation.

3. Walk around the block. Walking for 15 to 30 minutes is a great form of exercise. You can bring your dog or a friend along with you for company and motivation.

Source: VISTA Health Solutions

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