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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Physical exercise benefits cognition

In the spirit of the Olympics, a long-term study shows a significant cognitive benefit to those people who exercise regularly and maintain good physical fitness. Check out a summary article in Scientific American. The researchers admit that why this is true is not well understood, but some hypotheses are that the increased blood flow during exercise, which includes more oxygen to the brain, is a benefit to the brain and its cognitive power. A second possible reason is that during exercise, cells produce more mitochondria, which, if you remember your biology, is the energy plant of a cell. So even brain cells have more energy to use due to exercise. A third possibility is that increased heart rates increase neurogenesis, or the growth of more brain cells.

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