Incredibly Long-Lasting ‘Brain’ Benefits Of Running Revealed: New Study

Kamran Shah - Author

Mar. 22 2016, Updated 9:04 p.m. ET

According to a new study, running doesn’t only work wonders for the body, but also remarkably enhances cognitive prowess.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Physiology, London, researchers studying the impact of aerobic exercise on human cognitive function have associated long lasting brain benefits for individuals who incorporate the habit of running into their everyday lives. Running as an exercise activates and even enhances neuron reserves in the human brain which are central to the brain’s capacity to learn, the study confirms. More intriguingly, it reveals that running can multiply these reserves much more expeditiously than any kind of high-intensity resistance training.

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Participating researcher Professor Heikki Kainulainen has said that running has positively long-lasting effects on brain structure and function, namely the generation of neurons in the hippocampus, a brain structure important in learning.

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“Aerobic exercise, such as running, has positive effects on brain structure and function. It may be possible to increase the neuron reserve of the hippocampus and thus improve preconditions for learning by promoting neurogenesis via sustained aerobic exercise such as running.”

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The results emerged after researchers noted the sustained running pattern in rats who subsequently also underwent resistance training. The findings indicated that the highest number of new hippocampal neurons was observed in rats that ran long distances and that also had a genetic predisposition to benefit from aerobic exercise.


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