Study Unveils Exercise’s Remarkable Impact on Brain Volume and Cognitive Well-being


In a groundbreaking study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers shed light on the significant link between exercise and brain health. The study, analyzing brain scans of over 10,000 individuals, suggests that regular exercise, even in the form of a few thousand steps a day, has a positive impact on brain volume.

This newfound understanding carries potential implications for mitigating cognitive decline and reducing the risk of dementia.

Brain volume, a key metric in assessing brain health, is correlated with cognitive function. A decrease in brain volume is often indicative of cognitive decline, which may progress to conditions like dementia.

Conversely, maintaining or increasing brain mass through exercise appears to have “potential neuroprotective effects,” according to the research team.

“We found that even moderate levels of physical activity, such as taking fewer than 4,000 steps a day, can have a positive effect on brain health,” noted study co-author Dr. David Merrill, the director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Brain Health Center, emphasizing that this achievable goal contrasts with the commonly suggested 10,000 steps.

Study To Understand the Exercise’s Impact on Brain Volume

The study involved 10,125 participants with an average age of 52, who underwent whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to evaluate their brain volume relative to their exercise levels.

The results indicated that individuals engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity, including walking, running, or playing sports, exhibited larger brain volume in critical regions such as the hippocampus (responsible for memory), gray matter (processing information), and the occipital, frontal, and parietal lobes.

“Our research supports earlier studies that show being physically active is good for your brain,” explained study author Dr. Cyrus A. Raji. “Exercise not only lowers the risk of dementia but also helps in maintaining brain size, which is crucial as we age.”

The findings add to a growing body of research highlighting the positive impact of exercise on brain health and dementia risk reduction. Last year, a study revealed that even just one minute of squats to counteract prolonged sitting could enhance cognition and brain function. Additionally, a 2022 report concluded that a mere 15 minutes of walking per day could slash the risk of Alzheimer’s by 33%.

While the benefits of exercise on brain health are becoming increasingly evident, experts caution against certain behaviors or conditions that could accelerate dementia development. These include alcohol abuse, vitamin D deficiency, inflammation, and chronic stress.

The study’s revelations not only reinforce the notion that physical activity is closely tied to cognitive well-being but also offer practical insights into achievable exercise goals for individuals seeking to enhance brain health.

As the scientific community continues to uncover the intricate relationship between exercise and brain function, these findings encourage a proactive approach to incorporating regular physical activity as a potential strategy for maintaining cognitive vitality and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Beyond Chemical Imbalances: Researchers Shed Light on Social Root Causes Of Depression

In a recent letter to the editor published in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers led by Joanna Moncrieff present a compelling argument challenging the conventional understanding of depression. They assert that rather than being solely attributed to chemical imbalances in the brain, and discuss the social root causes of depression.

According to Moncrieff et al., the evidence for brain differences in depression is lacking, while there is substantial support for the influence of social and environmental factors on mental health.

They argue that the circumstances of life, such as stress and adversity, play a more significant role in shaping depressive symptoms than neuro

Up Next

Study Reveals Presence of Microplastics in Human Brain: Concerns Rise Over Health Implications

In a groundbreaking revelation, researchers from the University of New Mexico have discovered microplastics infiltrating human brain tissue, as reported in a study published in the journal Environment Health Perspectives. The study sheds light on the pervasive presence of microplastics in various organs of the body, including the kidneys, liver, and brain.

Eliseo Castillo, an associate professor leading the research, underscores the widespread distribution of microplastics in the environment, emphasizing their presence in water sources, food items, and even the air we breathe.

Previous studies have estimated that individuals ingest approximately five grams of microplastics weekly, equivalent to the weight of a credit card.

Up Next

Study Reveals Significant Genetic Link Between Treatment-Resistant Depression and Family History

In a groundbreaking study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers have uncovered a substantial genetic link between treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and family history.

Led by Dr. Cheng-Ta Li, a professor of medicine at the National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University in Taipei, Taiwan, the study utilized extensive national health insurance data to investigate the transmission of TRD across generations and its association with other psychiatric disorders.

The findings of the study are particularly significant, as they shed light on the hereditary nature of TRD and its implications for early intervention and treatment.

Up Next

FDA Clears Prescription Digital Therapeutic for Adults with Major Depressive Disorder

The FDA has recently cleared a groundbreaking prescription digital therapeutic, known as Rejoyn, for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) symptoms in adults. This innovative therapy, developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in collaboration with Click Therapeutics Inc., aims to provide adjunctive care for individuals who have been prescribed antidepressants as part of clinician-managed outpatient treatment.

Rejoyn is a 6-week treatment program designed to assist individuals aged 22 years and older in regulating their emotions through a combination of clinically validated cognitive training exercises and therapeutic lessons.

The therapy utilizes digital platforms to deliver pe

Up Next

Sweet Science: How Chocolate’s Theobromine May Aid Weight Loss and Alzheimer’s Prevention

A recent study conducted by researchers at Zhengzhou University in China suggests that indulging in chocolate could offer various health benefits, including weight loss assistance and Alzheimer’s prevention.

Published in the Journal of Functional Foods, the study highlights the potential of a chemical compound found in chocolate called theobromine to positively impact both the body and the brain.

Theobromine, present in cocoa beans, boasts anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants, making it beneficial for brain health. According to scientists, this compound can protect against Alzhei

Up Next

New Study Finds High Genetic Risk for Obesity May Require Over 14,500 Daily Steps

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open reveals a significant association between genetic risk for obesity and the amount of physical activity required to mitigate the risk.

Led by Dr. Evan Brittain, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the study analyzed data from 3,124 participants in the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program to explore the link between genetic predisposition to obesity and recommended step counts for reducing the genetic risk of developing the condition.

Findings from the study indicate that individuals with a higher genetic risk of obesity may need to undertake more physical activity

Up Next

Ketogenic Diets Show Promise for Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia Treatment, Stanford Study Finds

A recent study led by researchers at Stanford University suggests that ketogenic diets may offer benefits for individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, shedding light on the potential role of diet in managing serious mental illnesses.

The findings, published in Psychiatry Research, highlight the positive impact of a ketogenic regime on both psychiatric outcomes and metabolic syndromes commonly associated with these conditions.

Unlike traditional diets, ketogenic diets are characterized by high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate intake. The study, led by Dr. Shebani Sethi, a clinical ass