We all know about the physical benefits of exercise. From simply being stronger to helping your heart and flexibility, regular exercise is key to good physical health. But now you can chalk up another benefit to the powers of health and fitness: improving your memory.
Researchers from a variety of universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Rice University, and Ohio State, have found that in older individuals, even a short session of exercise can improve memory function, and regular exercise over a longer period of time actually changes the physical structure of the brain.
In these studies, participants were asked to partake in various low-impact exercises such as stretching, aerobic walking, or riding a stationary bicycle for just six minutes. After these activities, the researchers found that the participants generally scored much better on memory tests than the people who did not exercise.
Why should you care? Well, as you age, the part of your brain that is responsible for memory gets smaller. And the older you get, the more it shrinks. But if you exercise regularly, and really make a habit of staying fit and healthy, then your brain’s memory center doesn’t shrink like it would for most people. In some of the people in the above studies, their memory centers actually grew larger.
So if you’ve been needing motivation to start working out more, you’ll probably be pleased to hear that working out isn’t just good for your body – it’s helping to boost your brain power, too.