New research suggests regular exercise can not only benefit your waistline, but your brain too. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that staying active is linked to higher-quality brain cells than those in sedentary people.
In the study, scientists found that it took laboratory mice just one week of running on a running wheel to see the results. Runners had more brain connections than those that remained inactive. This benefited their reaction times and memory as well.
“I think it is a very good idea for the sake of the brain to be moving and active,”
said first author Dr. Henriette van Praag.
The findings appeared in the journal Scientific Reports.
During the experiments mice were divided into two groups based on their level of exercise. Researchers conducted brain scans on both groups. The findings were startling. Dr. van Praag noted during a recent interview that brain cells of animals that exercise ‘are not just quantitatively but qualitatively different’.
Past Studies Confirm Findings
It is not the first time van Praag’s team conducts a study on the benefits of exercising. In 2012, the researchers carried out a study on the benefits of running. That study revealed that runners have a better memory functions and a larger volume of grey matter than non-runners. Exercise was found to stimulate brain connections.
In 2016, Dr. van Praag conducted an experiment with mice swimming through a maze. She found that the animals that exerted themselves the most physically had the healthiest and strongest brain connections.
What’s more, a new study revealed that exercise is so beneficial that only by watching sports it can put people’s hearts under as much stress as moderate-intensity exercising. Canadian researchers found that heart rates of people watching sports can double when there is a scoring opportunity or the game is about to end.
Image Source: Pixabay