Exercise Proven to Deliver Benefits to the Brain
A recent neurology study published on JAMA about exercise shows that increased aerobic activity results in improved executive function in healthy adults who had below-average fitness levels,
The 132 sedentary participants, ages 20 to 67 years, were randomly assigned to 6 months of either aerobic exercise (up to 75% of maximum heart rate) or stretching and toning 4 times a week.
At the 24-week follow-up, executive function improved by 0.50 points in the aerobic exercise group compared with a 0.25-point improvement in the stretching and toning group—a statistically significant difference between groups.
The effect of aerobic exercise on executive function was greater in older adults than younger adults. Executive functioning was 0.228 standard deviations (SDs) higher among participants aged 40 years, increasing to 0.596 SDs at age 60 years, in the aerobic exercise group compared with the stretching and toning group.
However, cortical thickness in the left frontal brain region significantly increased in all participants in the aerobic exercise group regardless of age. Neither type of exercise had an effect on memory.
JAMA. 2019;321(12):1149. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.2495