Exercises Increase Brain Size
Size matters when it comes to hippocampus, brain area responsible for some types of memory. Numerous studies have shown that the larger it is the better. A recent study also showed that well fit elderly people have larger hippocampus as well as good spatial memory, which is responsible for orientation in space.
The Hippocampus magazine reports that this part of the brain is larger in active older people, thus giving them advantage over sedentary peers by about 40%. A study involving London taxi drivers showed that experienced taxi drivers tend to have larger rear part of hippocampus than in ordinary people. German medicine students discovered that the same part of their hippocampi increased by the time they were approaching final exams.
Other studies report that hippocampus shrinks as we age, thus reducing cognitive function; however, the speed of the shrinkage varies greatly among people.
Previous studies showed that physical exercises tend to increase hippocampus and spatial memory in rats. Recently, similar results have been observed in humans.
Scientists from the University of Illinois and the Pittsburgh University tested the power of cardiorespiratory system of 165 adults (109 of them were females) aged between 59 and 81 years. With the help of magnetic resonance method the scientists measured the volumes of the left and right halves of hippocampi of each participant. In addition, spatial orientation of the participants was also examined.
It turned out that there is clear correlation between the participant’s physical fitness and the results of the tests examining spatial memory. Similar relationship was found between fitness and the size of the hippocampus.
So lets do some workout and get smarter!
Source of the image: sciencedaily.com.