Regular workouts not only do your body good, they likely improve your mind as well, at least according to review of the data on the subject.
Human brains seem to benefit from regular aerobic exercise and strength training, the study found, but the researchers added that more investigation is needed to determine just how exercise affects brain structure and function.
In the report, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers led by Michelle W. Voss, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reviewed 111 prior studies. They found that both aerobic exercise and strength training are key to brain health and good cognition.
The study revealed that aerobic exercise during childhood, especially, is essential to the development of cognitive abilities that remain important throughout life. Experts have long known that being sedentary is associated with poorer academic performance, the research team pointed out. In contrast, exercise programs have been shown to improve people’s memory, attention and decision-making abilities.
Here are more details from a report in HealthDay News: The study authors offered a few possible reasons why brain health might get a boost from regular exercise. After examining previous animal studies, they suggested that exercise might alter people’s brain structure, triggering the growth of new nerve cells and blood vessels. Physical activity also increases the production of certain brain chemicals that promote the growth and repair of brain cells, they said in a press release. But they added that more research is needed to examine the individual effects of different types of exercise on brain health and cognition.
The bottom line? Exercise is good for the body and the mind … and, I might add, the spirit!