Aerobic exercises may improve your memory functioning in a certain region of the brain, called the hippocampus.
An worldwide collaboration of researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of Manchester reviewed 14 clinical trials that examined the brain scans of 737 people before and after an aerobic exercise program, as well as a control group.
In a first of its kind global collaboration, the new study was led by researchers from Australia's National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University along with the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the UK.
Research has shown that exercising has a positive impact on the hippocampus as it increases its size over time.
All the participants in these trials were between the age of 24 and 76 years.
The clinical trials included scans of 737 brain scans from a variety of healthy people, people with mental illnesses and people with cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease. This has been the most definitive evidence that exercises not only have positive effects on the physical health but also has a positive effect on the brain health of humans.
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Joseph Firth, a researcher at the Western Sydney University in Australia stated that while exercising a chemical is produced called the brain-derived neurotrophic factor which helps prevent age-related decline in the brain.
Aerobic exercises help a particular section of the brain known as the hippocampus.
The effects of aerobics was examined along with stationary walking and cycling and running on a treadmill. The length of interventions ranged from three to 24 months, with almost two to five sessions of exercises every week.
"In other words, exercise can be seen as a maintenance programme for the brain", he added. Aerobic exercises may not increase the size of the hippocampus per se but the exercises helped in slowing down the deterioration that is caused in brain with every passing decade.
Firth says that along with improving regular healthy aging, the results have implications for the prevention of aging-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and dementia but further research is needed to establish this.
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