The study was published in the journal Psychophysiology by lead investigator Dr Liana Machado. In the study they found that young women who exercised regularly had higher oxygen availability in the frontal lobe of the brain. These women performed best on difficult cognitive tasks compared to women who exercised less.
You may ask what oxygen availability has to do with brain function? Oxygen availability is known to be important in cognitive functioning. Cognitive functioning includes things like memory, learning, reasoning, intelligence, attention, visual and motor skills and language.
Dr Machado said: “This provides compelling evidence that regular exercise, at least 5 days per week, is a way to sharpen our cognitive ability as young adults – challenging the assumption that living a sedentary lifestyle leads to problems only later in life.”
What exercise you do doesn’t seem to be that important. Dr. Machado says the exercise could be brisk walking or more vigorous exercise and it can be split up over the course of a day. An interesting finding from the study was that body mass index (BMI), did not seem to be a factor in the results indicating that regular exercise may be more important than body weight alone.
What to make of this study
This is another reason why exercise for younger people is so important. I have discussed in previous posts how it can help increase grey matter in the brain, it can help increase bone density and now cognitive ability. It seems to me that we as a society are becoming less and less active. We know that this affects older people and all aspects of their health, but it appears young adults are also affected? The simple answer is find ways of increasing your activity. If you are at high school or university, have a break from the study and assignments and do some physical activity for a few minutes, your body and hopefully your grades will thank you for it.
- Adapted from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288280.php