Study Shows Running Gives Your Brainpower a Boost

Early morning runner, Richmond Park, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe... Photo: Alamy
Early morning runner, Richmond Park, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe…
Photo: Alamy

Running is not only good for your body, but also boosts your brainpower, according to a new study.

Researchers found that aerobic exercise increases the neuron reserves in the hippocampus area of the brain, responsible for learning.

And importantly, exercise such as running boosted these reserves far more than high intensity training (HIT) or resistance training.

The study, published in the Journal of Physiology: London, was carried out by Department of Psychology and the Department of Biology of Physical Activity at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.

Lead researcher Professor Heikki Kainulainen said: “Aerobic exercise, such as running, has positive effects on brain structure and function, for example, the generation of neurons in the hippocampus, a brain structure important in learning.

“It has been unclear whether high-intensity interval training, referring to alternating short bouts of very intense anaerobic exercise with recovery periods, or anaerobic resistance training has similar effects on hippocampal neurogenesis in adulthood. ”

The team studied rats who underwent sustained running, HIT and resistance training.

Prof Kainulainen added: “The results indicate that the highest number of new hippocampal neurons was observed in rats that ran long distances and that also had a genetic predisposition to benefit from aerobic exercise.

“Compared to sedentary animals, HRT rats that ran voluntarily on a running wheel had 2-3 times more new hippocampal neurons at the end of the experiment.

“Resistance training had no such effect. Also the effects of HIT were minor. To conclude, only sustained aerobic exercise improved hippocampal neurogenesis in adult animals.

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SOURCE: The Telegraph