New research conducted on mice showed that physical activity might be a way to reverse cognitive decline. The results point to the fact that aging animals show signs of improved learning capabilities after a month of exercising.
The benefits of working out have long been known. However, most studies focused on the physical benefits exercise brings to our overall health — healthy heart, good metabolism, and even keeping away cancer.
More recently, Australian researchers discovered that physical activity especially affects the hippocampus. This part of our brain is in charge of forming and preserving memories and learning new skills and emotional regulation.
To find out how the two are related, scientists conducted a series of behavioral tests on mice. Surprisingly enough, they seem to have found the magic formula: 35 days.
Older mice started improving after 35 days of running as a form of exercise. Their cognitive abilities were in decline, but they suddenly started scoring the same results as young mice that were not included in any form of physical activity.
Encouraged by this discovery, the team devised a number of new experiments to try and discover why this happens. The results showed that physical activity enhances the production of growth hormone, which is responsible for creating new neurons.
Scientists believe that these findings could be used as a basis for further research. If it’s possible to unlock a mechanism that creates new neurons within adult humans, this will revolutionize the scientific field.