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Can physical exercise increase brain size?

Byusanewscart.com

Dec 29, 2023

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Experts say that taking just 4,000 steps can have a positive effect on brain health

In this undated photo, a scientist is examining an MRI of the human brain. — AFP/File
In this undated photo, a scientist is examining an MRI of the human brain. — AFP/File 

A new study revealed that physical exercise for 10 minutes three times a week is enough to increase your brain’s volume.

After examining MRI brain scans of more than 10,000 people, scientists in Canada and the US discovered those who exercised regularly had bigger brains.

This was specifically seen in areas that govern information and memory processing, sensory perception, muscle control, and decision-making, according to a report published in the Mail Online.

The experts said that taking just 4,000 steps can have a positive effect on brain health.

Some of the types of physical activity that had this effect included running, walking, and team sports.

In the study, Dr Cyrus Raji, the lead researcher, said: “Our research supports earlier studies that show being physically active is good for your brain. Exercise not only lowers the risk of dementia but also helps in maintaining brain size, which is crucial as we age.”

In order to explore the relationship between exercise around two to three days a week and the effects on brain volume, the scientists divided over 10,000 participants into two groups, a group that exercised and a group that didn’t.

The exercise group worked out between two to three days a week on average, while the other one was considered the non-exercise group if they worked out less often than that or not at all.

Around three-quarters of study participants engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity such as cycling, swimming, and walking four times per week on average for at least 10 minutes per day.

The more a person exercised, the larger their brain volume appeared in MRI scans.

Dr David Merrill, study co-author and director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Brain Health Center, said: “We found that even moderate levels of physical activity, such as taking fewer than 4,000 steps a day, can have a positive effect on brain health.”

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