How exercise benefits cognition

In a recent article in the journal Scientific American, David Jacobs, a professor in the division of epidemiology and community health at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, and Na Zhu, a researcher in the same department, explains how exercise benefits cognition. We all know that exercise improves our physical fitness, but staying in shape can also boost our brainpower. We are not entirely sure how, but evidence points to several explanations. The article reviews how exercise helps to circulate nutrient-rich blood efficiently keepING the blood vessels healthy, increases the creation of mitochondria and enhances neurogenesis in adults. Regardless of the mechanism, mounting evidence is revealing a robust relation between physical fitness and cognitive function. This likelihood is part of the hypothesis behind our MID-Frail and Frailomic FP7-funded studies. The message is clear: for generally healthy people, exercising regularly can enhance brain function over a lifetime—not just after a workout.