Cardio-respiratory exercise including cycling may help keep the brain sharper for longer into life as well as preventing people from being affected by dementia, according to new research.
The study, carried out by researchers at the University Medicine Greifswald in Germany, has been published in the journal, Mayo Clinical Proceedings.
Researchers analysed the cardio-respiratory fitness of 2,013 adults in northern Germany, split into two separate groups, between 1997 and 2012.
They measured participants’ peak oxygen uptake while pedalling an exercise bike, and also assessed the results of MRI brain scans.
Results suggest that cardio-respiratory exercise such as cycling, walking or running may build up grey matter, the cell bodies that together with filaments called white matter, make up the brain.
However, researchers cautioned that while a link between exercise and brain health had been found, it did not provide direct evidence of cause and effect, meaning more research is needed.
Ronald Petersen of the Mayo Clinic, quoted on inews.co.uk, said: "This provides indirect evidence that aerobic exercise can have a positive impact on cognitive functioning in addition to physical benefits
"There is good evidence for the value of exercise in midlife but it is encouraging that there can be positive effects on the brain later in life as well.”
Michael Joyner, also of the Mayo Clinic, added: "This is another piece of the puzzle showing physical activity and physical fitness protects against aging-related cognitive decline."
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.