New York: Exercise seems to endow a wealth of benefits, from the release of happiness-inducing hormones to higher physical fitness and now it may provide a boost to the mind too, a new study suggests. The researchers have found that a single bout of exercise improves cognitive functions and working memory in some older people. In experiments that included physical activity, brain scans, and working memory tests, they also found that participants experienced the same cognitive benefits and improved memory from a single exercise session as they did from longer, regular exercise.
“In terms of behavioural change and cognitive benefits from physical activity, you can say, ‘I’m just going to be active today. I’ll get a benefit.’ So, you don’t need to think of it like you’re going to train for a marathon to get some sort of optimal peak of performance. You just could work at it day by day to gain those benefits,” “said Michelle Voss, Assistant Professor at University of Iowa.
After a single exercise session, the researchers found in some individuals increased connectivity between the medial temporal — which surrounds the brain’s memory center, the hippocampus — and the parietal cortex and prefrontal cortex, two regions involved in cognition and memory. Those same individuals also performed better on the memory tests. Other individuals showed little to no gain. The boost in cognition and memory from a single exercise session lasted only a short while for those who showed gains, the researchers found.