It is starting to become much more well known that physical fitness is connected to your mental health. Recently, studies have found that your physical fitness affects your mind as it ages, too. In other words,in order to keep your brain young, you need to exercise.
Neuroimaging has given us the ability to look at brain activity and figure out what is important for your mental health. Until now, no one had studied how physical performance and mental performance were linked.
Exercise Keeps Your Mind Sharp And Young
According to the study, they found that men who were physically fit performed better mentally than the men who were less in shape. The men who were fit had the same type of brain activity as a young person.
As you age, you start using different parts of your mind when compared to how your brain functioned when you were young. When you are young, you are most likely to use the left side of your prefrontal cortex when you are performing mental tasks such as understanding meaning, recognizing objects, using short-term memory, etc.
When you are older, you will most likely use the right side of your brain more to perform these same tasks. Memory, intelligence, language, vision, and functioning regions in your brain all change as you age.
When you get older, your mind will start to need to use both sides of your prefrontal cortex in order to perform the same tasks you would when you were younger.
Exercise tests were performed to keep the physically fit men in shape so that their mental activity could be observed. They also observed the men performing different mental tests to determine how being physically fit influenced mental activity.
The men who were fit were not only using the left side of their prefrontal cortex like a younger brain, but they were also much quicker at responding to the tests. Their scores were higher and they outperformed men who were the same age, but were less physically active.
Professor Soya believes that “one possible explanation suggested by the research is that the volume and integrity of the white matter in the part of brain that links the two sides declines with age. There is some evidence to support the theory that fitter adults are able to better maintain this white matter than fewer fit adults, but further study is needed to confirm this theory.”
Whether you are a man or woman, young or old, it seems that it is in your best interest to add more aerobic exercise into your daily routine. What do you do to stay active both physically and mentally? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.