Posted by Matthew Pearson on 14th Oct 2017
Anyone skeptical of the amount a difference a regular exercise routine can have on their long-term health is unlikely to be swayed by yet another study showing how good exercise is for us. But the rest of us, especially those who need some prodding to get moving, or just a reminder, should find a new study to be right on point.
A study published in October 2017 provides another brick in the wall of research that shows that aerobic exercise has very beneficial effect on our brains. These effects include increased memory, better mood and less age-related cognitive decline. What was different about the study was that any amount of exercise has such effects, not just the recommended amount of 30 – 40 minutes per day.
About 34,000 subjects were studied over eleven years. Each subject reported how often they exercised, how hard they exercised, and how depressed or anxious they felt. Even an hour of exercise per week seemed to help prevent depression. And it didn’t even have to be aerobic. That is, even exercise that didn’t get the subjects breathing hard was effective in this way, compared to those who did not exercise. The study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The abstract of the study, Exercise and the Prevention of Depression, can be found at https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16111223
The study adds to the research on the connection between exercise and mental state. Some studies have found that mood changes can take place almost immediately, while improvements in memory can take longer. At least one other study has found that aerobic exercise can reduce the levels of circulating stress hormones. Another study found that aerobic exercise actually increased the size of the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
Yet another study found that the best mental effects of exercise were accomplished through a combination of aerobic and strength resistance exercises.
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