A Canadian study on Stroke survivors has shown that regular exercise doesn’t just keep your body fit but can also improve brain function.

The study, conducted in Toronto and presented this week at the Canadian Stroke Congress, showed that exercising regularly for as little as six months can improve memory, thinking, judgement and language by up to 50%.

The study followed 41 patients, 29 of whom had problems walking and needed a stick or walker. The patients followed a specially adapted program with activities such as walking, lifting weights and doing squats for five days a week. At the end of 6 months’ exercise, the number of patients with some kind of cognitive impairment dropped from 66 % to 37%. Physical strength and mobility were also improved.

This study is being cited to encourage the development of specially formulated exercise regimes for people that have suffered from a stroke, helping them to gain cognitive and physical fitness. Regular exercise can also reduce the risks of suffering from a stroke in the first place.

Exercise Your Brain
It’s not just Stroke patients whose brains benefit from exercise. When you exercise you increase your aerobic fitness, meaning that the oxygen supply within your body is more efficient. This means that more oxygen is fed to your organs, including your brain.

Daily physical activity increases the oxygen supply to your brain, improving your concentration and ability to learn, as well as making you look and feel better.

Not only that, but research over the last few years as shown that high intensity aerobic activity can help you to grow new brain cells in the hippocampus, which is partly responsible for memory. A 2007 study found a 30% increase in the number of brain cells in participants who exercised for at least one hour a day, for four days a week, on a treadmill or static bike.
Why not try running, walking or cycling to improve your physical and mental health?

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