How exercise makes your brain work
Scientists have suspected for a while that exercise and brain function were pretty closely related, and now new studies are showing an even more important link. The New York Times has a story about recent papers published in the Journal of Physiology. It's pretty science-heavy stuff, but it confirms what we at Footbalance have always believed - exercising is good for your brain.
"Now a series of animal studies from Japan suggest that the exercising brain has unique methods of keeping itself fueled. What’s more, the finely honed energy balance that occurs in the brain appears to have implications not only for how well the brain functions during exercise, but also for how well our thinking and memory work the rest of the time."
That is great news for runners, swimmers, and everyone active. The study found that exercise actually increases the ability of the brain to store energy from food:
"After a single session on the treadmill, lab rats were allowed to rest and feed, and then their brain glycogen levels were studied. The food, it appeared, had gone directly to their heads; their brain levels of glycogen not only had been restored to what they had been before the workout, but had soared past that point, increasing by as much as a 60 percent in the frontal cortex and hippocampus and slightly less in other parts of the brain. The astrocytes had “overcompensated,” resulting in a kind of brain carbo-loading.As a result, the study's researchers say, “it is tempting to suggest that increased storage and utility of brain glycogen in the cortex and hippocampus might be involved in the development” of a better, sharper brain."
This means that not only does exercise build more fuel reserves, giving you more energy for sustained endurance, but you might actually get a better brain out of it!
(image from NYT, credited to Shannon of Reuters)