Health experts have long touted the benefits of a regular exercise program for aging bodies. Now, a recent study conducted jointly in the United States and Japan suggests even 10 minute spurts of mild physical activity help young people improve memory power and learning capabilities. The study offers renewed hope for many people recovering from bouts of inactivity. It will likely also interest professionals assisting short-term rehabilitation for seniors.
An Interesting Academic Study
Researchers asked their test subjects, all college students, to follow two different sets of instructions. The study participants either (a) sat quietly on a stationary bike or, (b) operated the bike at a gentle pace for some 10 minutes. Afterwards, the study subjects completed a challenging test designed to evaluate their memories. Overwhelmingly, the results indicated the young people performed better on the memory exam after first engaging in mild exercise.
The researchers then asked study participants to complete the same protocols again but to perform the memory test in a magnetic resonance imaging chamber. This allowed the scientists to observe sequences of repetitive brain activity in test subjects. The research team concluded the physical activity had assisted the participants in forming neuronal pathways in areas of the brain involved in learning and in the hippocampus. Although the study did not reveal how changes actually occurred on a molecular level, it did suggest the mild exercise may have stimulated some physiological activity in the brain.
Today, many researchers actively search for ways to promote better short-term rehabilitation for seniors. The recent study has contributed in some measure towards this goal. As scientists learn more about the development of neuronal pathways and the operation of the brain in healthy test subjects, they gain valuable insights into human physiology. This knowledge ultimately helps physicians and physical therapists develop more effective treatments for patients recovering from a variety of health problems.
Caregivers also appreciate advances in the exciting field of neurology! During the process of rehabilitation, many patients require extensive assistance on a daily basis. In some cases, discovering new treatment methods might help shorten the period of time required for patient recovery.