What Physical Activity Does for Your Cognitive Health
If you need another reason to motivate yourself to hit the gym, you might think about what exercise can do to for your cognitive function. Exercise has been identified as one of the best ways to prevent cognitive decline later in life, and it can also boost your brain power in your prime years, allowing you to get more out of life.
Exercise has immediate and delayed benefits.
Many studies have indicated that exercise has an immediate benefit on cognitive function in the short-term, as people tend to solve puzzles more quickly and accurately after participating in physical activity. Recent research shows that this effect can be long-lasting, as regular exercise early in life can boost brain power during middle age, and physical activity in midlife can delay the onset of conditions that cause dementia.
Any type of physical activity can boost brain power.
The reason exercise is so beneficial for your brain and cognitive function is likely hormonal. When you work out with any type of physical activity—whether it’s running, biking, swimming, or weight lifting, your body produces more of a hormone called irisin, which is tied to improved cognitive function. In addition, another chemical called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) released during exercise actually stimulates the growth of new neurons, which is why physical activity has such lasting effects on the brain.
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