Study Shows More Exercise Correlates with Bigger Brain Size

When you exercise more, you can feel the effect on your body after a certain period of time. You lose weight, you feel stronger, and your muscles become more defined. At the same time, you develop more stamina to handle greater challenges.

Training-powerfulBut that’s not all exercise offers. A recent study, published in Neurology and summarized in Time, found that, at midlife and later, those who exercised tended to have larger brains than those who weren’t as physically active.

Researchers looked at 1,583 men and women who didn’t have dementia or heart disease and measured their fitness levels at midlife and again 20 years later. The subjects worked out on a treadmill while the researchers assessed their fitness level and performed brain scans. This same process was then repeated after 20 years.

The researchers found that individuals whose heart rate reached its limit after a certain time tended to have smaller brains, as did those whose heart rate and blood pressure increased during exercise. By contrast, those with higher fitness levels at middle age generally had larger brains.

“We are not able to tell from our study whether fitness in midlife or later life matters more,” said author Nicole Spartano to the press. “In future studies, I would like to explore this distinction, to see whether one is more important than the other. But it is likely that both are important.”

While many associate exercise with getting fit, this study and others like it display its other long-term benefits. If you’re looking to spend more time at the gym, improve your routine or start with a class, get your exercise in at North Haven Health & Racquet. Stop by our facility today to learn more.