Want to Improve Your Brain? Start the New Year Running! Here's Why... by Mei Marcie
Your body may not be the only thing that benefits when you run for fitness. Research by a team at the University of Arizona examined the impact on the brain of repetitive athletic activities requiring little motor-control precision. They compared the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of adult male cross-country runners, alongside adult male non-athletes, aged 18-25.
The team found that the group of athlete runners' MRI scans showed more connections between different parts of the brain. For instance, cognitive functions, including the ability to switch attention between tasks, planning and decision-making, were improved in runners. This could be that high-speed running requires a combination of complex, sequential motor tasks, multi-tasking, working memory and object recognition. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.