How physical exercise makes your brain work better

August 26, 2016

Research shows different activities have quite specific mental effects – here’s how moving your body could sharpen your ideas

 

The brain is often described as being “like a muscle”. It’s a comparison that props up the brain training industry and keeps school children hunched over desks. We judge literacy and numeracy exercises as more beneficial for your brain than running, playing and learning on the move.

 

But the brain-as-muscle analogy doesn’t quite work. To build up your biceps you can’t avoid flexing them. When it comes to your brain, an oblique approach can be surprisingly effective. In particular, working your body’s muscles can actually benefit your grey matter. Brain training: should you believe the hype? 

 

Scientists are showing that the runner’s high and the yogi’s tranquility have profound effects on your brain. Moreover, specific physical activities can markedly alter its structure in precise ways. 

 

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