Boosting brain power is another benefit of running

Jenny Decker RN's picture

For those who are avid runners and those who are considering taking it up, there is good news today. Besides the positive cardiovascular effects running has on the body, scientists have learned that running also benefits the brain as well. The study was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences early edition. The area of the brain most affected is the hippocampus. The hippocampus has a direct effect on learning and memory, writes WedbMD.

The study was done on adult mice who voluntarily used their running wheels. The results were profound. With the use of the running wheels, the mice increased the number of brain cells and began to test better than the other mice at exams used to how spatial learning is assessed. However, the average man looking at this study might say “Huh?” Well spatial learning is where the mind is able to navigate through and discriminate where objects are in an unfamiliar environment. As the brain records the incoming information to the hippocampus, these memories are recorded for later use.


Spatial memory allows one to remember their way around a city or two. It also helps the person to be able to tell the layout of the things around him, such as when in a living room. The TV location and the windows is an important spatial function. Other things that may stimulate spatial memory include sounds, music, or smell. The mice that were running were better able to tell the difference between what bowl was their food. This spatial memory is often tested when mice are placed in a maze and let run around to find the end of the maze.

The study shows only a correlation. There is no evidence at this point what the physical connection between body and brain is concerning learning and memory. Further studies will have to determine how this works. Adult mice who were physically fit showed that the evidence between physical activity and the researcher’s theory. However, the older mice with impaired spatial discrimination were refractory to the running.

This study holds some promise by showing that all exercises have hidden benefits The future of the study is to better able extinguish between staying fits that to increase your learning to. Getting your physical fitness in line with your brain might just yield some cardiovasculer bengefits and benefits to brain health as well. So boost that brain power and go for a run!