Study shows different types of exercise affect the brain in different ways

A new study has shown for the first time that low intensity and high intensity exercises impact the brain differently.

Twenty-five male athletes underwent incremental treadmill tests for 30 minutes of both low and high intensity on separate days. Before and after exercising, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (Rs-FMRI) to examine the connectivity of different brain regions, and the athletes also completed a self-reported questionnaire to measure positive and negative mood. 

Athletes reported a significant increase in positive mood after both low and high intensity exercise intensities, and a significant change in negative mood. Interestingly, the results of the Rs=fMRI tests showed that low-intensity exercise led to increased functional connectivity in networks of the brain associated with attention and cognitive processing. High intensity exercise on the other hand, led to increased functional connectivity in networks of the brain related to emotional processing.

It is widely agreed that any type of exercise is good for our mental health, whether it be running, cycling, swimming or lifting weights. The PMAC team tested this theory last year with some astonishing results – we all felt that our mood and general wellbeing had improved during the test week, so, give it a go!

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