There are many studies which suggest that children might do better in school if they’re more physically active. If this is the case for children, then what is to say that exercise could also improve brain power in adults?
Studies looking at kids have found that regular aerobic exercise can help to expand their working memory i.e. improve their ability to mentally manipulate facts and ideas to solve problems. This suggests that exercise is linked to academic achievement.
So for children it would seem to be a very good idea to ensure that they are doing at least some physical activity every day. This can include things such as: cycling to school, playing football with friends at break times, going swimming, walking the dog etc.
Further to this, it has been found that intellect and other mental functions, can be improved with aerobic exercise in young adults. Studies have found that those who exercise regularly post quicker reaction times, give more accurate responses, and are more effective at detecting errors when they engage in fast-paced tasks in the lab.
It is often the case that young people do less and less activity as they get older for a range of reasons which include; university lifestyle, increasing work or family commitments, and a lack of motivation. However as it has been suggested by lots of studies, exercise is beneficial to brain function and as such it is important to incorporate at least some activity into the lives of young adults. This activity could be going to a gym class, swimming, going for a jog or even doing house work.
Finally, research on older adults has found that regular aerobic exercise can also boost the mental functions that typically deteriorate with age. These functions include the ability to pay focused attention, to switch among tasks, and to hold multiple items in working memory. One study found “significant increases in gray and white matter volumes” in areas of the brain associated with executive control in older adults who exercised regularly for 6 months compared to control groups. The improvements in brain function were noted following aerobic exercise, but not following resistance exercise.