Get off the couch! Exercise your way to a healthy brain / Faire de l'exercice pour un cerveau plus en santé

OUTREACH ARTICLE / ARTICLE DE VULGARISATION

Nagamatsu, L. (2017). Get off the couch! Exercise your way to a healthy brain. Frontiers for Young Minds, 5(20), 1-6.

DOI: 10.3389/frym.2017.00020

Abstract

We all know that physical activity is good for the heart and lungs, but is it also good for the brain? Research has shown that regular physical activity can boost brain performance in various different kinds of people, from children and young adults to older adults at-risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These improvements in brain performance can be measured by tests of memory, thinking, and attention. It is thought that physical activity improves brain performance by changing both the way the brain functions and its size, a process known as neuroplasticity. In particular, physical activity may increase the size of a part of the brain called the hippocampus—the brain’s memory center. Importantly, the benefits of physical activity on the brain are seen at all ages, which means it is never too late to start exercising to help the brain. This research shows that being physically active may be an enjoyable way to help you improve your grades at school now and to keep your brain healthy throughout your life.