Exercise essential for a healthy brain

Exercise builds a healthy brain.

New research has added to the growing body of evidence that exercise is essential for a healthy brain.

Researchers out of Germany have found a new correlation between cardiovascular exercise and brain health.

In particular, exercise helps the grey matter of the brain, which is associated with motor function.

This research also suggests that cardio exercise will benefit the aging population.

The study

The researchers looked at more than 2000 participants over a period between 1997 and 2012.

To gauge cardiorespiratory fitness, researchers had the participants ride exercise bikes while measuring peak oxygen uptake.

In addition, the researchers also took MRI readings to measure brain data.

The results showed that cardiorespiratory exercise may improve brain health, as well as slow down the decline in grey matter.

 The study has been published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. In an editorial accompanying the study, three experts praised the research as “encouraging, intriguing and contribute to the growing literature relating to exercise and brain health”.

“This provides indirect evidence that aerobic exercise can have a positive impact on cognitive function in addition to physical conditioning,” wrote Dr. Ronald Petersen, one of the editorial authors.

“Another important feature of the study is that these results may apply to older adults, as well. There is good evidence for the value of exercise in midlife, but it is encouraging that there can be positive effects on the brain in later life as well.”

The Mayo Clinic experts further recommended regular moderate-intensity exercise 150 minutes — or two and half hours — a week.


Wittfeld, K. et al. (2020). ‘Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Gray Matter Volume in the Temporal, Frontal, and Cerebellar Regions in the General Population.’
Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2020; 95 (1): 44 DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.05.030

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