People with at least a moderate level of aerobic fitness are better at mental recall than those with low aerobic fitness or who are sedentary, according to a new study from Boston University.
Researchers had subjects do treadmill tests to determine their level of aerobic fitness. Then they administered some fun mental-recall tests. (Well, fun if you enjoy those sorts of things.) In one, subjects looked at a series of pictures, then 15 to 20 minutes later looked a larger series of pictures containing the ones they'd seen and new ones, and were asked to say which were old and new. The fittest subjects had 73 per cent recall compared to 67 per cent recall for the less-fit subjects.
Aerobic exercise is thought to provide this benefit because it causes new neurons to be formed in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that plays a large role in mental recall. This study adds to a growing body of research showing that running and other forms of vigorous aerobic exercise provide several brain-boosting benefits.Like this article? Check out Runner's World for more training and nutrition information.