New Study Shows Moving Your Body is Good for Your Brain, Too

girl doing yoga and gymnastics on the grassKeeping physically fit isn’t just good for your body’s health — it also does a bit of good for your brain, a new study has revealed.

According to the Economic Times, researchers at the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that men aged 64 to 75 who exercised regularly tended to be more mentally adept than those who didn’t, by using parts of their brains as if they were younger.

Hideaki Soya, the study’s leader, said these findings show a direct correlation between brain activity, cognitive function and physical fitness among older men.

The research is based on the fact that as we age, we use our brains differently. Younger people tend to use the right side of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) when processing memory manipulation and temporary storage tasks. Older adults, conversely, engage both the right and left PFC.

The University of Tsukuba’s findings further support the need for humans to engage in regular physical activity — not just for physical health, but for cognitive health as well. And one doesn’t even need to be enrolled in one of the top fitness programs to see these benefits.

“I totally agree with this study’s findings,” says Lindsey Catarino, Independent Team Beachbody Coach + Certified PIYO Instructor. “I was not actively working out for about five years and when I came back into fitness, I found a huge change in my overall happiness, ability to deal with stress, higher level of focus, and I started to have the desire to read and learn more. When you feel good, your whole life changes.”

To conduct this study, the researchers conducted a test that evaluated the subjects’ selective attention, executive function and reaction time, reported NDTV Food. The test itself involved showing the men a series of color words, but asked them to name the color of the letters rather than simply reading the word aloud.

Men who favored the left PFC tended to have faster reaction times, an indication that their brains were more youthful in function. These men who had shorter reaction times were also more likely to be physically fit.

So the next time you exercise, remember that it’s for your health — both mentally and physically.