Brain Function and Exercise
Better brain function with exercise? The evidence is clear. Not only can you get long-term benefits for your brain from exercise, but you can boost you brain power in the next ten minutes. Exercise can help your brain work more efficiently and actually make you smarter.
The thinking ability of subjects was tested in one study. After these tests, the subjects ran on a treadmill for thirty minutes. When their hearts returned to normal resting levels they took the follow-up tests. During all tests the subjects were connected to an EEG (elctroencephalogram), in order to track their brainwaves.
Researchers found that exercising had increased the speed their decision-making. It was considered a significant difference (beyond normal statistical variation). They also found that the subjects answered more accurately after the exercise than before.
Participants were between 18 and 24 years old, but researchers think the findings will hold true for other age groups as well.
One study showed that just ten minutes of moderate exercise each day can improve mood and reduce fatigue. Brain function specifically wasn’t tested, but it seems likely that less fatigue means better brain power.
Best Exercise For Brain Function?
The research has focused more on the duration of exercise more than on the specific type. Aerobic exercise seems to be the common element in the studies that have shown improvements in brain function, however. It’s likely that running, bicycling, swimming, dancing and any other aerobic exercise will have the same effect.
Notice that ten minutes of exercise is apparently enough to have effects on the brain. Also, while most scientists probably expected to find better brain function from long-term exercise programs, the study using treadmills showed an immediate effect. In other words, get up and run around, and you can be smarter ten minutes from now.
Some people find that walking is a great way to boost brain power. There are the aerobic benefits now being proven by recent studies, but there seems to be something more. It may be due to it’s rythmic and relaxing nature that many people report their clearest and most creative thinking when walking.
We already knew that exercise was good for sleeping better, a healthier immune system, weight control, and a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Now you can add brain power to that list. Why not take a walk today for better brain function?