Researchers have pondered the connection between exercise and brain health for years. While it seems clear the two are related, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have now identified a concrete connection between aerobic exercise and memory.
Aerobic exercise decreases the risks of memory-related neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease by boosting blood flow to two regions of the brain responsible for our memories. These two regions are the anterior cingulate cortex and the hippocampus which regulate attention as well as short and long-term memory retention.
The researchers discovered this by studying 30 adults with pre-existing memory conditions. The entire group exercised together three times a week for a year, but half the group engaged in aerobic exercises, and the other half practiced stretching. When analyzing their brain scans a year later, researchers noticed a 47 percent improvement in the aerobic exercise group’s memory scores.
This study is critical because it shows that regular exercise can not only prevent memory deterioration but also reverse it in those already suffering from neurodegenerative disorders. Understanding that central blood flow is a critical component of memory also pushes researchers one step closer to grasping the cause and cure for neurodegenerative diseases.
If you suffer from poor memory or are concerned about developing a neurodegenerative disorder later in life, regular exercise is an easy way to boost brain power and also reap all the other numerous health benefits of regular exercise.