Cardiovascular exercises have already been proven in research studies to promote a better lifestyle and improve mental wellness. New research, published in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, expands on its effectiveness, suggesting that cardiorespiratory workouts may benefit brain regions associated with cognitive decline.
Between June 2008 and September 2012, researchers evaluated 2,103 adult participants ranging in age from 21 to 84 years old as part of two population-based cohorts. The researchers looked at two sections in the study: gray matter and total volume, to see whether there were any correlations between cardio-exercise and cognitive performance.
The participants were asked to do cardiorespiratory exercise regimens on a stationary bike while researchers monitored peak oxygen consumption. Following that, MRI brain scans were performed.
“Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), oxygen uptake at the anaerobic threshold, and maximal power output from cardiopulmonary exercise testing on a bicycle ergometer,” the authors of the study said in their journal report. “Magnetic resonance imaging brain data were analyzed by voxel-based morphometry using regression models with adjustment for age, sex, education, smoking, body weight, systolic blood pressure, glycated hemoglobin level, and intracranial volume.”
The findings, according to the researchers, suggests that cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) exercises were advantageous for cognitive health. When the efficaciousness of the workout routines was examined, it was shown that enhanced peak oxygen uptake was connected with larger gray matter volume.
“Cardiorespiratory fitness was positively associated with gray matter (GM) volume, total brain volume, and specific GM and white matter clusters in brain areas not primarily involved in movement processing,” the authors of the study concluded.
“These results, from a representative population sample, suggest that CRF might contribute to improved brain health and might, therefore, decelerate pathology-specific GM decrease.”