Regular walking makes a person smarter

Brain jogging Running makes you smart

"We have now been able to show for the first time that very specific mental achievements benefit directly from sport," explains Professor Manfred Spitzer, Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy III at Ulm University. The study has shown that stimuli are processed faster and more effectively through regular exercise. After just six weeks of intensive running training, significant improvements in the areas of “visual-spatial memory”, “ability to concentrate” and “positive mood” were found.

Over a period of 17 weeks, the research team let the almost 80 participants train hard. In addition to the training units, psychological tests and measurements of the brain's electrical activities were on the program. The result: The athletically active test group was able to achieve a significant improvement in spatial imagination.

Fitness pays off

The scientists were particularly impressed by one aspect: exercise can compensate for the depletion of the dopamine level, which is important for brain performance and which triggers mental exertion. The EEG examinations also showed a clear connection between physical fitness and electrical brain processes. This means: Fitter subjects show faster and more efficient stimulus processing.

But even the best training is of no use without learning. "The potential of the brain can be increased through endurance training, but of course just running is not enough," the experts say. Spatial imagination benefits more from physical activities than verbal memory. Learning vocabulary is not really easier, even if you walk.

However, it remains to be seen which forms of movement particularly improve mental performance, as well as the optimal duration of the activities. From the point of view of the scientists, the consequences of their findings for school policy and the organization of lessons are appropriate in any case. In any case, reduced or canceled sports hours are the wrong approach here.

Source: Ulm University