Does sport and exercise improve our neuronal functions and memory accuracy? The short answer is yes.
Many researchers around the world, including recent studies carried out by the Miguel Hernández University of Elche, conclude that practicing sports regularly leads to an improvement in memory and learning abilities.
The link between exercise and memory
It is an undisputed fact that performing physical activity on a regular basis improves our overall health. But exactly how and to what extent it may benefit brain neuronal abilities is less well understood. Nevertheless, many scientists believe there is sufficient evidence that this link exists.
Studies demonstrate that people who exercise regularly are able to retain more information and achieve greater concentration. Such cognitive benefits carry on for days after the exercise was practiced. Improvement in memory and attention span appears amongst all age groups.
The researchers at Miguel Hernández University claim that physical activity not only increases the brain’s memory capacity and ability to pay attention, but also improves decision making and reaction time. They also believe that, in order to obtain the best cognitive results, exercise should be moderate and not strenuous or exhausting.
How does exercise improve our brains?
The study carried out by the University of Elche also highlights a curious relationship involving brain size. Brains seem to be physically larger in individuals who exercise regularly. In addition, these brains appear to enjoy better blood flow and busier neuronal activity.
There are many factors that affect the brain’s physical attributes, including diet and genetics. Many scientists believe that physical exercise helps the body to better move oxygenated blood and nutrients around the body, including around the brain. An improved nourishing of brain cells improves cognitive performance.
Another factor to take into account is lactate. Our muscles produce lactate in the absence of oxygen, which is released into the bloodstream and causes the brain to release a molecule called BDNF. Many researchers believe BDNF is key for improving cognitive abilities, including learning and memory.