Does exercise improve brain health

New studies add to the scientific understanding of how aerobic and resistance exercise benefit the brain and improve brain function. 813 0 0 1 . 696 0 0 0 1. 415 0 does exercise improve brain health 0 1. 748 0 0 0 2.

624 0 0 0 1. 47 0 0 0 13 6. 5 0 1 0 6. Now, new research helps illuminate how, exactly, working out improves brain health. 39 studies that looked at the link between exercise and cognitive abilities among people over age 50. Ultimately, the researchers concluded that 45 minutes to an hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise was good for the brain. Joe Northey, a PhD candidate at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise in Australia. When older adults undertake aerobic or resistance exercise, we see changes to the structure and function of areas of the brain responsible for complex mental tasks and memory function. Get the latest health and science news, plus: burning questions and expert tips.

But how does exercise have these effects? Another new study presented at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting in Chicago explored one possible way. Getting enough blood to the brain is important for healthy brain function, since blood flow brings the brain oxygen and nutrients. In the small study—which has not yet been published—researchers used ultrasounds to assess arteries and changes in cerebral blood flow in 12 healthy young adults while they were standing, walking and running. The increases in blood flow were greater when the men and women ran, but walking was enough to spur the effect. Greene, a professor of engineering and biology at New Mexico Highlands University. It’s another positive aspect of exercise. Scientists are still exploring multiple ways by which fitness improves the brain.

But blood flow is a promising path, since it can also help create new brain cells. That may indicate why doing both aerobic and resistance training is of benefit to cognitive function. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice. A mouse that runs all the time is smarter than one that doesn’t. Probably true for people, too. Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. Go to the home page to see the latest top stories.

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Go for a walk or a swim. In-depth reference and news articles about Physical activity. Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons — and the makeup of brain matter itself — scientists in just the past few months have discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does. The most persuasive evidence comes from several new studies of lab animals living in busy, exciting cages. In most instances, such environmental enrichment also includes a running wheel, because mice and rats generally enjoy running. Until recently, there was little research done to tease out the particular effects of running versus those of playing with new toys or engaging the mind in other ways that don’t increase the heart rate. So, last year a team of researchers led by Justin S. Rhodes, a psychology professor at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, gathered four groups of mice and set them into four distinct living arrangements.

One group lived in a world of sensual and gustatory plenty, dining on nuts, fruits and brain busting puzzles bermuda triangle, their food occasionally dusted with cinnamon, all of it washed down with variously flavored waters. Neon-hued balls, plastic tunnels, nibble-able blocks, mirrors and seesaws filled other parts of the cage. Group 2 had access to all of these pleasures, plus they had small disc-shaped running wheels in their cages. A third group’s cages held no embellishments, and they received standard, dull kibble.

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And the fourth group’s homes contained the running wheels but memory booster supplement for students other toys or treats. All the animals completed a series of cognitive tests at the start of the study and were injected with a substance that allows scientists to track changes in their brain structures. Then they ran, played or, if their environment was unenriched, lolled about in their cages for several months. Afterward, Rhodes’s team put the mice through the same cognitive tests and examined brain tissues. It turned out that the toys and tastes, no matter how stimulating, had not improved the animals’ brains.

Animals that exercised, whether or not they had any other enrichments in their cages, had healthier brains and performed significantly better on cognitive tests than the other mice. Animals that didn’t run, no matter how enriched their world was otherwise, did not improve their brainpower in the complex, lasting ways that Rhodes’s team was studying. Rhodes says, and the mice rarely ventured into the empty, quieter portions of their cages. But unless they also exercised, they did green coffee bean extract and garcinia cambogia results become smarter.

The brain, like all muscles and organs, is a tissue, and its function declines with underuse and age. Beginning in our late 20s, most of us will lose about 1 percent annually of the volume of the hippocampus, a key portion of the brain related to memory and certain types of learning. Exercise though seems to slow or reverse the brain’s physical decay, much as it does with muscles. Although scientists thought until recently that humans were born with a certain number of brain cells and would never generate more, they now know better. In the 1990s, using a technique that marks newborn cells, researchers determined during autopsies that adult human brains contained quite a few new neurons. Fresh cells were especially prevalent in the hippocampus, indicating that neurogenesis — or the creation of new brain cells — was primarily iv vitamin c brain cancer there. Even more heartening, scientists found that exercise jump-starts neurogenesis.

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Mice and rats that ran for a few weeks generally had about twice as many new neurons in their hippocampi as sedentary animals. Their brains, like other muscles, were bulking up. But it was the ineffable effect that exercise had on the functioning of the newly formed neurons that was most startling. Brain cells can improve intellect only if they join the existing neural network, and many do not, instead rattling aimlessly around in the brain for a while before dying. Please verify you’re not a robot by clicking the box. You must select a newsletter to subscribe to. You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times’s products and services. You are already subscribed to this email.

View all New York Times newsletters. One way to pull neurons into the network, however, is to learn something. In a 2007 study, new brain cells in mice became looped into the animals’ neural networks if the mice learned to navigate a water maze, a task that is cognitively but not physically taxing. But these brain cells were very limited in what they could do. When the researchers studied brain activity afterward, they found that the newly wired cells fired only when the animals navigated the maze again, not when they practiced other cognitive tasks. The learning encoded in those cells did not transfer to other types of rodent thinking. Exercise, on the other hand, seems to make neurons nimble. When researchers in a separate study had mice run, the animals’ brains readily wired many new neurons into the neural network. But those neurons didn’t fire later only during running.

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