Your Brain Also Becomes More Flexible After Working Out

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These days the mental benefits of exercise are considered almost as important as the physical advantages. After all, research shows pounding the pavement helps stress, anxiety and depression.

A new study published in Experimental Brain Research has made an interesting discovery into how exactly physical exertion boosts the brain. The research team at University of Auckland and neuroscientist Ronan Mooney recruited ten young adults with one group of participants doing 30 minutes of moderate cycling and a control group not cycling.

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Following the workout, around 60 percent of the participants' motor cortex had less gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA - a neurotransmitter that inhibits activity in the brain. They concluded this is likely how exercise prompts neuroplasticity or the brain's ability to reshape itself.

Study authors write that: "a single bout of moderate intensity aerobic exercise modulates motor cortex inhibition," meaning the brain becomes more flexible and less rigid. They also concluded the process, "may enhance early acquisition and consolidation of skills, leading to improved motor memory and performance"

As Science Of Us point out: "This means that a workout could prime stroke victims for more effective physical therapy, allowing them to more quickly recoordinate their limbs — because memory isn't just mental, but physical."

Yet another reason you should hit the gym.