Exercise more for a good brain

July 26th, 2011 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 26 (IANS) That exercise helps maintain good health is well known but it also improves your brain’s wellness, say researchers.

New research conducted at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests exercise plays a vital role in maintaining the brain and cognitive health throughout life.

Exercise appears to change brain structure, prompting the growth of new nerve cells and blood vessels. It also increases the production of neurochemicals that promote growth, differentiation, survival, and repair of brain cells.

Michelle W. Voss and her colleagues reviewed 111 recent human and animal studies.

They showcased the effects of aerobic exercise and strength training on humans, from children to elderly adults, the Journal of Applied Physiology reports.

For example, physical inactivity is linked with poorer academic performance, while exercise programmes appear to improve memory, attention, and decision-making.

These effects also extend to young and elderly adults, with solid evidence for aerobic training benefiting executive functions, including multi-tasking, planning, and inhibition, and increasing the volume of brain structures important for memory.

Although few studies have evaluated the results of strength training on brain health in children, studies in elderly adults suggest that high-intensity and high-load training can improve memory.

This study also highlights gaps in scientific literature.

For example, the authors note that more research is needed on how a particular type of exercise might promote different consequences on brain health and cognition.

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