This week’s international edition of Newsweek has several articles on how researchers have found that physical exercise can sharpen the mind and boost brain function.
The first article looks at how scientists came to discover that exercise improves brain function, increases learning and can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
In terms of understanding why this occurs, it seems one factor is that exercise causes the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, a key substance for promoting neural growth and development.
The second main article looks at the effect of exercise on mood.
It is now known that light exercise seems to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression, and, at least in the UK, is being recommended by mental health clinicians as a useful non-drug treatment.
The key, it seems, both for the beneficial effects on mood and mental sharpness, is not the intensity of the workout but whether it occurs regularly or not.
The pieces suggests that regular light exercise seems to be enough to keep the mind and brain trim, so you don’t have to wear yourself out to see the benefit.
The special issue has been put together with the help of Harvard Medical School, who roll out several experts to give advice in addition to a range of researchers interviewed for the main pieces.
Also look out for the embedded audio of an interview with two Harvard clinicians on the topic.