Half an Hour’s Worth of Aerobic Exercise Does Wonders for the Brain
The body and mind, as we all know, are strongly linked to one another. And what’s good for one, is usually good for the other. So, with just a half an hour of moderate aerobic exercise, not only the body benefits immensely, but the brain as well. This is what researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand have discovered.
Well, it wasn’t such a big mystery, to begin with, but it’s always good to know what happens precisely. For instance, one such workout is enough to promote neuroplasticity and allow the brain to more easily reshape itself. What this translates to is that your working minds will be fresher, far more creative and open to new opportunities and situations.
The research team led by Ronan Mooney recruited ten young adult volunteers. They asked them to cycle on a treadmill at a moderate speed. This was about 60 percent of their maximum performance. Another group was asked to stay put and act as the control group.
This relatively short burst of physical activity was shown to reduce the levels of the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. This is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for the incapacity of the brain to undergo neuroplasticity. In other words, it’s an inhibitor. It is also used as a treatment for people who suffer from an excessive degree of anxiety. But in all other situations, low levels of this neurotransmitter is a good thing.
“Habitual exercise appears to be beneficial for health and well-being. It is becoming increasingly evident that acute and chronic participation in aerobic exercise exerts a number of positive effects on the brain such as improved memory and executive function. The underlying mechanisms of exercise-related changes in brain function are not completely understood,” said Winston D. Byblow and Ronan A. Mooney of the University of Auckland.
Based on these finding, the team hypothesises that these workouts enhance one’s ability to acquire and consolidate new skills much faster. This, in turn, leads to an increased motor memory and overall performance.
But since the experiment was done on only a small group of people of the same age and demographic, further study is needed in order to have a definite answer. People of other ages and locations are needed to get a more precise answer. But even so, they believe that stroke victims can benefit immensely from these sorts of coordinated physical exercise.