Exercise to Give Your Brain a Boost

Exercise to Give Your Brain a Boost

We all know that exercise has plenty of physical benefits, but a new study has uncovered benefits for the brain as well.

Researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine have discovered that aerobic exercise can help with memory problems.

Researchers found that aerobic exercise can enhance thinking skills and brain volume in adults with mild cognitive impairment that falls on the spectrum between normal memory decline related to aging and more advanced dementia. Although the study has yet to be peer reviewed, initial results are promising.

Researchers used MRI scans to measure volume and shape changes in specific areas of the brain that are important in tracking the development of dementia. They conduced MRI scans on 35 subjects with mild impairment. The subjects were then divided into two groups and assigned to four weekly sessions of either stretching or aerobic exercise. After six months, subjects were scanned again.

Both groups showed increases in gray matter areas of the brain, including the temporal lobe, which is responsible for short-term memory. The increases were more marked in those subjects undertaking aerobic exercise. The stretchers showed less total increase in volume, and shape changes that could be related to volume loss. Those directional changes may be early indicators of dementia.

The researchers concluded that aerobic exercise could “preserve or possibly even improve brain volumes” in individuals with early cognitive problems. Over a six-month period, the aerobic exercisers also showed improvement in tests measuring working memory, reasoning, and problem solving. The stretching group exhibited no change. The study is in line with existing research that any type of exercise is beneficial.

For more information, please read:
This Type of Exercise Can Make Your Brain Healthier | Time

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