a group of young adults performing aerobic exercises in the pool to stimulate brain functionIf you’re looking for a way to improve your problem-solving skills and other cognitive functions, aerobics might be the answer. Exercise has long been known to improve executive function in older adults, but new research is finding it has the same effect on young and middle-aged adults. According to a study led by researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, aerobic exercise improves cognitive processes for reasoning, planning, and problem-solving—in adults as young as 20, although the effect was stronger with increasing age. Find out what this new research means for increasing problem-solving skills through exercise and how it can benefit your overall health.

Research Fuels New Findings

Research in the past focused mainly on exercise and cognitive function in older adults, meaning there wasn’t much information on how exercise affects the brain function of younger people. However, the study explored the effects of exercise on cognitive function on 132 adults between the ages of 20 and 67. The people studied were split into two groups – one group performed aerobic exercises and the other group performed stretching and core exercises. Both groups worked out four times per week. The participants were tested for cognitive function, processing speed, language, attention, and memory before the start of the study, again at week 12, and lastly at week 24. The results proved that there was a significant improvement in cognitive function for those participants in the aerobics group and the older the age, the better the improvements.

How Aerobic Exercises Changes Your Brain

After the 24-week-long program, the brain images showed that aerobic exercise was linked to significantly increased cortical thickness in the front cortex, which has been linked to executive functions. The study concluded that aerobic exercise is good for you, your cognitive function, and can help mitigate aging-related mental decline. The researchers also were able to prove that aerobic exercise is beneficial for improving young people’s cognitive function. While certain exercises and benefits vary for different people and ages, it’s been determined that any kind of aerobic exercise is good for your brain and leads to a healthier life.

Benefits of Exercise

Aerobic exercise is beneficial for your brain and body for many reasons. Some benefits of aerobics include improved cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, regulating blood sugar, and even can reduce chronic pain. Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Moderate aerobic exercises include things like walking and swimming, while vigorous activities include running and cycling. Be sure to include time for aerobic exercises each week to stimulate your brain and provide a variety of overall health benefits.