Physical Activity Also Exercises the Brain

Exercising helps improving the cognitive function and mental abilities, preventing aged-related memory loss and dementia

A recent research conducted by scientists at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois in Urbana showed that exercising is not good only for physical health and maintaining our body fully functioning, but it is also very beneficial for our brain. Physical activity improves cognitive function and mental abilities and also prevents age-related memory loss.

Dr. Arthur F. Kramer, who led the research, told Reuters Health: "Although we clearly still have much to learn about the relationship between physical activity and cognition, what we currently know suggests that physical activity can help keep us both healthy and mentally fit. Even relatively short exercise interventions can begin to restore some of the losses in brain volume associated with aging."

Interestingly enough, while reviewing the studies that previously linked physical activity to the cognitive function, the experts found a study that stated that "aerobically trained older adults showed increased neural activities in certain parts of the brain that involved attention and reduced activity in other parts of the brain that are sensitive to behavioral conflict."

The report has been presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association and is due to be published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. For the research, scientists carried out intensive study and thorough investigation of up-to-date scientific literature on the subject. They found that most of the writings suggested "significant and sometimes substantial" connections between physical activity and the cognitive function, exercising preventing memory loss and dementia in older individuals.

"Our review of the last 40 years of research does offer evidence that physical exercise can have a positive influence on cognitive brain functions in older animal and human subjects. We have found that physical and aerobic exercise training can lower the risk for developing some undesirable age-related changes in cognitive and brain functions and also help the brain maintain its plasticity - the brain's ability to cover one function if another starts failing later in life," pointed out the team involved in the research.

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