- A growing number of evidence suggest that cardio exercises are good for brain health
- Exercise helps maintain the brain’s gray matter, which is linked to thinking abilities and other skills
- Besides physical conditioning, aerobic exercise can also have a positive effect on cognitive function
Cardio exercises are known to help with physical health and are particularly beneficial for those who want to lose weight. A growing number of evidence, however, also suggest that cardio is also good for br
In a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings on Jan. 2, researchers found a link between cardi0v
ascular exercise and better br ain health.
Study researcher Katharina Wittfeld, from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Dis
ease, and colleagues used cardi0pulm0n ary exercise testing and MRI scans to examine the br ain health of more than 2,000 participants. They found an association between higher gray matter volume and cardi0respir atory exercise.
The researchers said exercise helps maintain the br
ain’s gray matter, which is linked to thinking abilities and other skills. Keeping the gray matter intact thus helps in preventing thinking declines.
“Cardi0respiratory fitness was positively associated with gray matter volume, total br
ain volume, and specific gray matter and white matter clusters in br ain areas not primarily involved in movement processing,” the researchers wrote in their study.
Mayo Clinic neurologist Ronald Petersen said that the most salient part of the study results is the emphasis on the effects of exercise in improving a person’s cognitive well-being. He said the research offers an indirect evidence that besides physical conditioning, aerobic exercise can also have a positive effect on cognitive function.
“There is good evidence for the value of exercise in midli
fe, but it is encouraging that there can be positive effects on the br ain in later li fe as well.”
Mayo Clinic experts recommend moderate and regular exercise for about 150 minutes per week.
Physical exercise should also be ideally paired with a healthy li
festyle, such as reducing bl0od sugar and cholesterol levels, maintaining a healthy weight, and not sm0 king.