Researchers at The University of Iowa recently advanced data intimating the positive cognitive benefits of habitual physical activity.
The new study premiered at the annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society this past Sunday and bolstered previous reports that link working out with short-term boots to memory.
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Physical activity and cognition
A previous study performed at the University of British Columbia motioned that regular aerobic exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain integral to both long-term and short term memory.
Heidi Godman of Harvard Health, explains, “The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors — chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.”
The research conducted by the University Of Iowa aimed to unpack the long-term cognitive benefits of regular workout sessions.
Participants observed in the study were tasked with performing either low or mildly intense workout sessions. The hippocampus of each individual was then analyzed via an MRI scan.
After the scan was complete the subjects were administered exams meant to test their memory. Following evaluations, they were put on a 12-week exercise program before being given the same exams upon completion.
The results showed that the hippocampus experienced a boost both immediately after exercise and after continued habitual exercise following the 12-week regiment.
This submits encouraging insights into the correlative risk factors associated with cognitive decline conditions.
A recent study of over 450 participants over the span of 15 years published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, determined that exercising 150 minutes per week presents a significant boost to cognition.
The subjects involved had their performance evaluated after taking the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes, which are two tests that help medical professionals identify dementia in patients early on. The study reports, “A physically active lifestyle seems to play an important role in slowing the development and progression of autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Additionally, a study published in September posited that exercise can effectively lessen the cognitive havoc engineered in patients that already suffer from the disease, by permitting nerve cells in the hippocampus of sufferers to experience cognitive improvements important to learning information and retaining memory.
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