Meditation seems to be the universal go-to when we want to quiet our mind. Just 10 minutes of a clear headspace can boost our brains and our mental health, especially as we get older. And according to Best Life, Tai Chi can significantly increase the brain’s metabolism and practicing yoga can enhance neural connectivity. But what about more physical activities?
A new study published in Acta Psychologica found that brief aerobic exercise immediately enhances visual attentional control and perceptual speed. Translation: a short jog is enough to boost your brain quickly.
The study split 101 undergraduate students into two groups. One jogged for 15 minutes at “moderate” intensity, while the other group enjoyed 15 min of relaxation/concentration. Perceptual speed, visual attentional control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility were assessed pre- and post-intervention in both groups. Self-rated feelings of energy were also recorded pre- and post-intervention.
Students who jogged felt more energized and showed marked improvement in both mental speed and attention control.
The study concluded that “a brief bout of moderate intensity exercise can improve the efficiency of certain cognitive processes through increases in feelings of energy,” but also admit that further research is required to evaluate the duration of benefits and to determine whether these apply to other populations.