Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/18/2013 -- Scientists from Harvard Medical School recently published a report linking a specific protein development of nerve cells required for learning and memory. What’s more, this protein is naturally produced by the body during exercise, confirming a direct correlation between physical activity and a boost in mental and cognitive function.
The specific protein is produced by the body during muscular exertion, and released into the bloodstream throughout the exercise session and for a few hours afterward. This increased production happens in just a matter of days or a few weeks after a person has begun engaging in physical activity, therefore one need not exercise for a long period of time before experiencing the cognitive benefits.
Researchers performed a study using an MRI machine to measure the amount of brain tissue in adults who exercised versus those who did not. They found substantial declines in brain tissue density in the areas responsible for thinking and planning, but these losses were greatly reduced in those who exercised, and even improved in those who began engaging in exercise during the course of the study.
But exactly how much exercise does one need to experience the cognitive benefits associated with activity? The American College of Sports Medicine, in coordination with the American Heart Association, published guidelines recommending a daily minimum of at least 30 minutes, five days each week, of moderate-intense physical activity. Also recommended by the study were resistance exercises to increase strength and muscle tone to support the body and aid in response time – further proving the link between planning capabilities and physical fitness.
While 30 minutes of activity five days per week can seem a daunting task to those engaging in a new fitness program, the activity sessions can be broken down into smaller increments to make the activity more manageable. Work up the full 30-minute session overtime, but as long as the recommended amount of activity is reached, a person will start to see the cognitive benefits in as little as a few weeks after beginning the program.
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