Study: Urban Jogging May Affect Your Brain

Jogging in an urban setting may be good for your body, but it could be hurting your brain.

A heart health symposium in Dublin last week included results from a study that indicates outdoor exercise in a city atmosphere may actually inhibit your ability to process new information.

The culprit appears to be air pollution, which in high levels can reduce some of the cognitive benefits typically gained during exercise.

MSNBC reports that the Belgium study was conducted using 24 participants divided between rural and urban environments. After following the same set of physical exercises and time frames, both groups were given cognitive tests.

Test results showed that urban participants presented with a higher level of brain inflammation and lower comprehension levels. Other areas of the brain were affected as well, including response times and brain plasticity.

According to The New Age Online, the findings come from the research of cardiologist Dr. Peter Schnohr and the Copenhagen City Heart study. The study has been following the health of more than 19,000 men and women for nearly three decades. The hope is to increase knowledge regarding the prevention of heart disease and stroke.

While these study results may leave you a bit unsettled, don’t throw out your running shoes just yet. The documented health benefits of exercise, regardless of your surroundings, could be far more beneficial than leading a sedentary lifestyle.

In fact, Science Daily reports that “regular jogging increases the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years.”

Will the study on urban jogging affect how or where you exercise?