Running has benefits to cardiovascular health and metabolism. Most people jog to maintain a fit body, to sweat, while a few others do it as their own way to clear the mind. This newly published study may encourage more people to engage in regular sprints as the experts say, running may help the brain perform better.
Researchers from the University of Arizona conducted tests showing the effects of running to functional connectivity in the brain. Though, improved functional connectivity doesn't necessarily result to higher IQ or smarter humans, experts link it to better performance on particular mental tasks.
In the study
, researchers gathered brain scans of 11 male cross country runners and 11 males who did not commit to any athletic activity for more than a year. The participants are 18 to 25 years old, are in the same bracket of weight and height, and have the same educational backgrounds.
In the MRI scans conducted during the resting stage of participants, results showed that compared to non-runners, runners had better functional connectivity in certain parts of the brain such as the frontal cortex.
In previous studies
, functional connectivity declines in old people who have a mental illness such as Alzheimer. Researchers say running may help reduce the risk of such mental illness, as well as it may improve the brain connectivity.
"The areas of the brain where we saw more connectivity in runners are also the areas that are impacted as we age," says anthropologist David Raichlen
, one the researchers, "so it really raises the question of whether being active as a young adult could be potentially beneficial and perhaps afford some resilience against the effects of ageing and disease."