Brain Health & Exercise
As we age, our brain’s cognitive functioning diminishes and these processes slow down. Fortunately, exercise can play a huge role in not just slowing this process down, but can actually improve brain health.
How Exercise Improves Brain Health
Long-term exercise and high levels of cardiovascular fitness are both associated with increased size of the hippocampus, striatum, and prefrontal cortex– an indication that physical activity promotes the growth of new neurons throughout the human brain. The greater your fitness level, the better you are at learning and remembering information.
This is especially true if the task being performed depends on the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is involved in executive functions including attention, short-term memory, problem-solving and planning. Additionally, physical activity has been proven to help stave off cognitive decline as well as improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Brain Health and Exercise- What Exercise is Best?
Research has shown reaction time improvements following bouts of both continuous aerobic exercise (such as 20 minutes of jogging) and high-intensity interval training. Brain health and cognitive functioning can benefit from either style of exercise.