Cognitive flexibility can be enhanced by exercising mental & physical muscle
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Wondering how you can improve your cognitive flexibility and performance?
Adults who are more physically active have greater cognitive flexibility, according to psychological research.
The study found that moderate or hard physical activity correlated with more variable brain activity.
Previous research has shown that variable brain activity is linked to better cognitive performance on complex mental tasks.
Professor Agnieszka Burzynska, who led the research said:
We found that spontaneous brain activity showed more moment-to-moment fluctuations in the more-active adults.
In a previous study, we showed that in some of the same regions of the brain, those people who have higher brain variability also performed better on complex cognitive tasks, especially on intelligence tasks and memory.
The study also looked at the microscopic integrity of the brain’s white-matter fibres.
The researchers found that those who do more exercise have larger brain volumes and more intact white matter.
That’s important for cognitive flexibility.
White matter is what helps send signals efficiently between different areas of the brain.
Professor Art Kramer, also a study author, said:
Our study, when viewed in the context of previous studies that have examined behavioral variability in cognitive tasks, suggests that more-fit older adults are more flexible, both cognitively and in terms of brain function, than their less- fit peers.
The study was published in PLOS ONE (Burzynska et al., 2015).
Image credit: musicallythinking