Running being one of the most effective and rewarding physical activities with scalable and relatively quicker results is a widely accepted fact today. However, a new study now claims that the perks of running are not confined to your body only. If this new theory is to be believed, regular running can leave a positive impact on your mind too by enhancing the functional connectivity in your brain.

Chris Hunkeler | Flickr

In the study, first published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, lead researcher David Raichlen and his colleagues compared the brain scans of young adult cross country runners to the brain scans of similar-aged people who did not indulge in running regularly. At the end of the comparative analysis, the researchers found that the runners had notably greater functional connectivity in their brains.

While the researchers admit that more research needs to be done in order to determine whether physical differences in the brain’s connections can lead to differences in cognitive functions, they also emphasize on the point that their research provides the groundwork that future studies can build on and have a better understanding of the effect of exercise on the brain — especially when it comes to young adults.

Raichlen explains that one of the reasons why they initiated this study is because most of the previous studies examining the connection between physical activities and the brain’s functional connectivity were carried out on older adults.

“Although generally considered an automated repetitive task, locomotion, especially at an elite level, likely engages multiple cognitive actions including planning, inhibition, monitoring, attentional switching and multi-tasking, and motor control,” the researchers wrote.


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