Dialling down the myth of the dumb jock, it seems a regular run could be as good for your brain as it is for your body.
That’s what a new study by the University of Jyväskylä in Finland revealed, indicating that long distance running is the best exercise when it comes to boosting your brainpower. Running for a minimum of five kilometres was shown to have a positive effect on brain function including being three times more effective than resistance or high intensity training at increasing the neuron reserves in the hippocampus – the area of the brain responsible for learning. Another study at Kentucky University measured blood flow to the brain of adults aged between 59 and 69 on a treadmill and found that the fitter volunteers had larger brains, better memories and clearer thinking, while those less in shape had smaller brains and reduced cognitive skills. And scientists in Germany following 21 adults over 60 as they went through a three-month fitness programme also saw improvements in their memory. They might not be able to tell us yet exactly why exercise helps protect brain cells, but the science suggests it certainly could make us smarter for longer and tackle diseases such as Alzheimer’s too. Time to jog on.
by Caroline Brien
Award-winning Beauty & Lifestyle Editor. Long time yoga lover. Life time film fan. Some time wander-luster.