Aerobic exercises are generally taken up by people, especially female who want to lose weight. But it is not just for weight loss, aerobic exercises have plenty of other health benefits.
A new study has found that aerobic exercise can improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age.
During the study, researchers from the Western Sydney University in Australia examined the effects of aerobic exercise on a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is critical for memory and other brain functions.
It is a known fact that brain health decreases with age, with the average brain shrinking by about five per cent per decade after the age of 40.
For the study, the researchers had reviewed 14 clinical trials which examined the brain scans of 737 people before and after aerobic exercise programs or in control conditions. The participants were in the age group of 24-76 years and included a mix of healthy adults, people with mild cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's and people with a clinical diagnosis of mental illness including depression and schizophrenia.
The researchers examined effects of aerobic exercise, including stationary cycling, walking, and treadmill running. The length of the interventions ranged from three to 24 months with a range of two to five sessions per week.
The results of the study showed that while exercise had no effect on total hippocampal volume, it did significantly increase the size of the left region of the hippocampus in humans.
"When you exercise you produce a chemical called brain- derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which may help to prevent age-related decline by reducing the deterioration of the brain," said Joseph Firth, from the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) at Western Sydney University.
"Our data showed that, rather than actually increasing the size of the hippocampus per se, the main 'brain benefits' are due to aerobic exercise slowing down the deterioration in brain size," he said.
The study was recently published in the journal NeuroImage.
Meanwhile, take a look at a few of the major health benefits of aerobic exercises here
1. Boosts Immunity:
Aerobic exercises helps in stimulating the immune system. Doing aerobics on a regular basis helps in boosting the immune system and this in turn helps in preventing a number of infectious diseases.
2. Good For The Heart:
Regular exercises is very essential to keep your heart healthy. Aerobics, which includes running, walking, swimming, cycling and a bit of indoor exercises are good to maintain a regular blood flow . This helps in preventing any heart related ailments.
3. Good For The Muscles:
For those suffering from muscle pain as well as back pain, aerobics help. It helps in providing adequate amount of oxygen to the muscles and keep away from the muscles metabolic wastes such as lactic acid. This in turn helps in reducing any kind of muscle pain.
4. Weight Loss:
Any kind of exercise helps in burning the body fat. Taking up aerobics on a regular basis even for about 15 minutes everyday helps one to lose weight.
5. Helps Reduce Stress:
Aerobics is one of the best exercises that helps one to fight stress effectively. If you are too stressed then going for aerobics on a regular basis helps in getting rid of stress.