The physical benefits of exercise including decreased risk of disease and death as well as improved strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination are well known. The benefits of exercise on our emotional and mental health are promising and continue to be explored. The exercise and neuroscience literature continues to produce great evidence behind the utilization of exercise to prevent, treat, and improve our mental health and function. A recent article examined the association between aerobic exercise and cognitive function in young adults (18-30 years old).
Whiteman and colleagues researched the association between aerobic fitness and cognitive function among 33 healthy adults (Neuroimage. 2015). Participants were tested for aerobic fitness using a treadmill test, brain volume and activity, as well as cognitive function. A positive association was found between higher cardiovascular endurance (VO2 max), brain volume, and cognitive function including memory.
This evidence adds to our existing knowledge on the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise on brain health. These benefits are noted after a single walk, as well as, in trained individuals. To learn more about how exercise can benefit your health contact your local Physical Therapist.