It’s no secret that exercise benefits you in every aspect of your life. With regular exercise you’ll feel better, look better, and have more energy and self-confidence. But did you know that exercise can also have great benefits for your brain as well? In the 1990’s a revolutionary study discovered that laboratory mice given access to exercise wheels showed increased cell production in the area of the brain associated with memory than mice that didn’t run. The exercise group proceeded to beat their less active counterparts in lab memory tests.
Ever since this study, scientists have been looking deeper into these results, and how exercise impacts the brain on a molecular level. A study by the University of British Columbia looked at women between the ages of 70 and 80 who were also known to have mild cognitive impairment. In the study, participants were randomly assigned to six months of supervised endurance exercise. Some lifted weights, some walked briskly, and the control group stretched and toned. After six months, the toning group scored the lowest on memory tests, and worse than at the beginning of the study. Women in the weightlifting group showed improvement in verbal memory over the other two groups.
In a similar study, lab rats either ran on wheels or “lifted weights” in a way – accomplished by weights on the rats’ tails while the rats repeatedly climbed little ladders. After six weeks, both groups showed improved memory. But the running rats showed a greater presence of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in the brain, which supports existing neurons and coaxes the creation of new cells. The weight training rats on the other hand had higher levels of a substance which promotes cell division and growth.
These results even further point to the great benefits of exercise if you want to keep your brain in top form and fight off memory loss. Even if cardio isn’t for you, you can reap similar benefits from weight training. You can keep your body and your brain fit at the same time!
Read the entire article here: How Exercise May Help Memory