Exercise is defined as any movement that gets your muscles moving and your body needs to burn calories. There are many types of physical activities, including swimming, running, jogging, walking, dancing, etc, and being active also provides many health benefits both physically, mentally, and even help you live longer.
Study Reveals The Impact Of Short Runs On Brain Function
Many research suggests that exercise can improve brain function and protect memory and thinking skills, but what is the best way to integrate it?
Any pleasurable movement can help but from the latest study in japan, it is revealed that short, moderate-intensity runs may improve brain functions. Researchers have found that short-running sessions improve the brain’s executive function, a set of processes that includes attention, memory, planning, organization, and impulse control. Running has also been associated with improved blood flow in the prefrontal cortex and better mood.
Running is affordable and accessible, so it’s arguably one of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of physical exercise. It improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscle, and improves bone strength. First, it increases your heart rate, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. It can also stimulate the production of hormones that improve brain growth. Moreover, exercise’s ability to prevent chronic disease may benefit the brain as brain function may be affected by these conditions. In addition to these physical benefits, running has been linked to improving mental health.
In the study, twenty-six healthy subjects rested after completing a 10-minute treadmill run at 50% of their maximum oxygen intake(using Vo2 max). To measure the effect of this exercise on both mood and executive functions, the researchers utilized a two-dimensional mood scale and color word-matched Stroop task before and after each session. Researchers found that a 10-min run stimulated the prefrontal cortex, increasing positive mood and executive function. These findings were demonstrated with shorter interference times in post-run Stroop operatives.
Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, LDN, ACSM-CPT, USAT Level I Triathlon Coach, RRCA Certified Running Coach, explains that in this study the effect on brain function was measured with the Stroop task. She explains that it is a well-known test that starts with relatively easy tasks and ends with more difficult parts. In this study, the researchers measured the difference in time between the easiest and most difficult tasks and looked at how a short 10-minute run at a moderate pace affected that time. The results show that execution makes the time difference between tasks shorter. This time difference is also known as “Stroop interference time” and therefore the researchers theorized that running could improve the brain’s executive function.
According to Carroll, running is known to increase the brain-derived neurotrophic factor BDNF. Scientists believed that the number of neurons in the brain was fixed, but now it is proved that adults can generate new neurons in the brain through neurogenesis. It is thought that BDNF may stimulate neurogenesis, leading to improved learning and cognition.
The benefits of running on the brain don’t end here. She firmly believes that this training method can work for anyone as long as they enjoy it. In her opinion, running can increase the activation of certain areas of the brain through awareness of the various sensory inputs needed to maintain balance and stride, which can keep the brain healthy. Many neurotransmitters were released during running and this could have effects on the endocannabinoid system.
By this study, we can conclude that running can be another tool to improve your mental health, and the benefits of this exercise can be achieved in less than 10 minutes. Consolidating short runs into your weeks is a good idea to improve your brainpower.