Wish to boost your brain power? You don’t need supplements for it. All you need to do is put on your running shoes! Researchers at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University in association with the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the U.K. came to this conclusion on the basis of their study. They examined the effect of aerobics on hippocampus, a part of the brain which is responsible for memory and other functions.
It is well established that the brain loses its health as it grows old, the average rate of shrinking being 5% per decade after a person crosses 40 years of age. Research has shown that exercising has a positive impact on the hippocampus as it increases its size over time. However, this positive effect has been quite inconsistent in humans.
For this, researchers reviewed the clinical trials of 14 different clinics and examine the scans of 737 people, brain scans, before and after they practiced their aerobics. The 737 people involved were a mixture of healthy adults, people with Alzheimer’s and depression with an average age of 66.
The effects of aerobics was examined along with stationary walking and cycling and running on a treadmill. The length of these interventions were anywhere from three to 24 months with 2-5 sessions in a week.
It was found that exercising did not have an impact on the overall volume of the brain but, it did result in an increase in the left side of the hippocampal area of the brain.
Joseph Firth, lead author of the study stated that some studies provide proof for the benefits of exercising on the brain health of a person. He explained that when a person exercises, the brain produces a neurotrophic factor which helps in the prevention of the age-related brain deterioration.
He further explained that along with improving healthy ageing, the results of the study also imply that this may result in the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia. But, this requires further deep study for proving the same. This study, published in the journal NeuroImage, states that exercising is one of the very few techniques which have been proven effective in maintaining brain size as it is and also ensuring its proper functioning over the years.