Mind cardio-improves-brain

Published on October 2nd, 2012 | by No Artificial

How Exercise Can Increase Your Brain Power

Regular physical activity has a positive effect on cognition and brain function.

We all know that regular exercise can produce long term health benefits. It is a key component in any weight loss program. Furthermore, it can help to relieve anger, anxiety and depression, and also reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and more.

According to the latest research at the University of Copenhagen intense exercise such as aerobic performed immediately before or after practicing a motor task was sufficient to improve the learning skills and the motor memory.

The researchers asked a group of young, healthy men to master a difficult tracking skill on a computer. The task call for input from both the muscles and the mind. Sitting before the screen with their right arm on an armrest and a controller similar to a joystick in their right hand, the men watched a red line squiggle across the screen and had to use the controller to trace the same line with a white cursor.

The men repeated the task multiple times, until the motion essential to track the red line became ingrained, almost automatic. They were creating a short-term motor memory.

The scientist before having their volunteers master the squiggle test, they first had a one group ride a bicycle for 15 minutes. The others rested.

All of the participants then repeated the test after an hour, a day and a week, to see how well they’d learned and remembered that certain skill.

The scores for speed and accuracy of squiggle shadowing were almost the same at the one-hour point, although the group that had ridden the bicycle after the first computer practice session was a little less precise.

After a week, though, the results looked completely different. The men who had exercised just after first learning the motor skill were noticeably better at remembering the task. The men who’d exercised before learning the new skill were not quite as adept now, although they were better than those in the group that hadn’t exercised at all.

The study suggests that physical exercise can be used to boost motor skill learning through an optimization of the consolidation of motor memory, which has significant perspectives in both sports and rehabilitation.

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