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As we start the New Year with a fervent hope that it’s better than the last two, many people are making a resolution to get more exercise. A new study suggests that might not just benefit the body, it could also help the brain. At least if you are a mouse.
Researchers at the University of Queensland Brain Institute found that 35 days of exercise could improve brain function and memory.
In an interview in Futurity, Dan Blackmore, one of the lead researchers on the study, says they not only showed the benefits of exercise, but also an explanation for why it helps.
“We tested the cognitive ability of elderly mice following defined periods of exercise and found an optimal period or ‘sweet spot’ that greatly improved their spatial learning. We found that growth hormone (GH) levels peaked during this time, and we’ve been able to demonstrate that artificially raising GH in sedentary mice also was also effective in improving their cognitive skills. We discovered GH stimulates the production of new neurons in the hippocampus—the region of the brain critically important to learning and memory.
The study was published in the journal iScience.
Obviously, this is great for mice, but they hope that future research could show similar benefits for people. But don’t wait for that study to come out, there’s already plenty of evidence that exercising has terrific benefits for the body. Here’s just seven ways it can give you a boost.
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Exercise can increase oxygen uptake by increasing heart pumping more blood to our body. This can increase an efficiency of oxygen transport within body. All cells including cell organells in the body needs oxygen to get energy stored in food to perform vital function such as powering muscle and movement of materials into and out of cells. The liver (20.4%), brain (18.4%) and heart (11.6%) consume the most oxygen in the body. New systems of brain and body get opened out nerves which are blocked due to some reason to faster blood circulation. Therefore, oxygen is essentially elements for cells to survive and functioning.
The development of childhood to adults require a variety of growth hormones to maintain health and functioning of all cells. However, as women and man reach the status of menopause, most of growth hormones subsides and majority of cells become inactive or turn into senescent cells. The consistency of exercise by elderly people may maintain certain proportion of body cells active and functioning. Growth hormone GH alone is unable to turn around inactive cells into active and functioning cells. The ability of brain cells from elderly people to produce GH for neurogensis and learning ability is limited. This can be seen in aged mice, short and prolonged exercise of mice had mixed improvement in learning ability. The genetic of one individual or species play roles to regulate aging of cells in our body. Therefore, consistency of exercise or physical activity plus healthy diet in elderly people are best solutions to improve health and active lifestyle for long periods of time.