If you’ve been searching for that ‘thing’ in your life that has the ability to lift your mood, improve your memory, and protect your brain against age-related mental deterioration, then researchers have a natural option for you.
Current research conducted, that comprises of a new study published just this month, proposes that any type of aerobic exercise; exercise that has the ability to increase your heart rate and get you moving and sweating for a sustained period of time, offers a substantial, tremendously positive effect on the brain.
“Aerobic exercise is the key for your head, just as it is for your heart,” write the authors of an article in the Harvard Medical School blog “Mind and Mood”.
Benefits, such as a lift in mood, can occur within as little as a few minutes into a run, whereas it could take a few weeks for others, enhanced memory, for example, to emerge. As a result, it was stated by researchers that the best type of fitness for the mind is any aerobic exercise that you can regularly partake in, while consistently keeping it up for at least 45 minutes in one go.
In the latest study focussing on the benefits of aerobic workouts on the brain, researchers cast their attention over several hundred breast cancer survivors. They wanted to see if activities like swimming and walking had the possibility of having any effect on “chemo brain,” a commonly-reported side effect of breast cancer treatment that involves memory loss and problems focusing.
Due to the fact that in previous studies it had been suggested that regular workouts could assist in protecting against age-related cognitive decline, the researchers wanted to find out if those results would hold true for cancer survivors too.
They gave around 300 breast cancer survivors accelerometers in order to track their daily activity, and also gave them access to a specially-designed iPad app called BrainBaseline, which featured a range of quizzes intended to measure the participants’ memory and attention. After one week, those who had completed aerobic exercise each day were not only notably less tired than those who did little to no exercise, they also recorded considerably better results on the app’s quizzes.
In a statement, Diane Ehlers, the lead author on the study and a professor of exercise psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, said: “The message for cancer patients and survivors is, get active!”.
While researchers admitted that more work was required around cancer patients and the effects aerobic exercise has, the evidence that aerobic workouts provide a whole host of possible advantageous influences on the brain. Examples of this are reducing the symptoms of depression, right through to strengthening connections in parts of the brain linked with memory.
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