A recent study shows that as little as 10 minutes of movement might offer the brain function a temporary boost, and organisational effectiveness on a cognitive workout. So, the next time you need a cerebral boost, go for a jog around the block.
The study focused on the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a region of the brain linked with executive processes and mood regulation. The researchers observed that running enhanced blood flow in this location.
Running is a pretty simple activity for many of us — no particular equipment or training is necessary to begin started, yet it has been found to increase longevity. All of that synchronised movement appears to offer the brain function something to think about.
We already know that exercise may improve both mental and physical health in a variety of ways, but when it comes to mental health, there has been very little research on the particular advantages of running, compared to other physical sports such as cycling.
That was something the researchers chose to look at, given how essential running has been to our history as a species – whereas bicycles have only been around for a few generations – and how diverse the exercise can be (from a casual jog to a full-on sprint). It is also a physical exercise that engages the entire body.
A total of 26 participants were evaluated after rest periods and after 10 minutes of running, in part using what is known as a Stroop Colour-Word Test, which quantifies response time in brain function processing – one of the activities could involve seeing the term “green” written in red ink and having to guess what it means.
The individuals reported being in a positive mindset after exercising and responded more swiftly to the tests. In addition, enhanced blood flow in the PFC was found using a method known as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).
Because many of the PFC’s activities are unique to humans and aren’t seen in the brains of other animals, the researchers believe their findings will help us understand how we developed as a species.
It’s also additional proof that you don’t have to perform a lot of exercises to reap the advantages. Previous research has demonstrated that short bursts of movement increase brain function, attention, heart health, and overall metabolic health.
If exercise can be viewed as a sort of medication, the researchers argue, then various types of exercise are analogous to different types of pharmaceuticals – and we now know more about the impacts of running and how it may be utilised as a treatment option or therapy.