Our Rittenhouse fitness trainer and physical therapy teams believe that exercise improves your physical health and mental acuity.
We see it with patients and clients who come to us for rehabilitation. Anecdotally, they seem sharper after working with us several times a week for a few months.
Science suggests that physical activity increases neurons in the hippocampus. Memories get created and stored here. And your thinking skills develop here.
Physical activity slows the reduction of brain size, which probably helps slow mental decline.
And one Rittenhouse fitness trainer knew about a 2016 MRI study. It compared college students who were runners versus sedentary ones. The runners had more neurons in the hippocampus – and measurably better results on cognitive testing. Surprisingly to researchers, the runners’ brains also showed increased activity in different parts of the brain. This paired activity allowed the brain parts to work together. And this improves thinking skills, decision-making, and our working memory.
Recently Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times referenced a new study that focused on people in their sixties. (Learn about it here). Dr. Mark Gluck of Rutgers University in Newark and his team looked at what happened when sedentary adults began to work out. He wanted to focus on the medial temporal lobe, a part of the hippocampus related to memory.
First, the researchers divided the subjects into two groups. Some of whom got brain scans. Then, one group began attending a 60-minute dance class twice a week for twenty weeks. While the other acted as a control. After twenty weeks all participants took cognitive tests and had brain scans repeated.
The results interested our Rittenhouse Fitness Trainer team. The cognitive tests showed that the exercisers improved their ability to learn and retain information compared to before the study. And they could apply new knowledge logically.
Then the team reviewed the brain scans. Interestingly, they noticed that the brains of the exercisers had more synchronized brain activity. Also as tasks changed, the areas of synchronization changed connections immediately. This activity mimics a youthful brain that has more flexibility and openness to learning.
The non-exercisers had no cognitive improvement. And their brains did not show marked synergistic brain activity.
“It seems that neural flexibility leads directly to memory flexibility.” – Dr. Mark Gluck
So, that suggests to our Rittenhouse Fitness Trainer team (learn more about them here) that if you exercise regularly, keep at it. And if you don’t, starting will be good for your brain – at every age based on the studies.
If you have questions or want, get started, contact us. We’re here and ready to schedule a collaborative evaluation session.