Does Exercise Increase Neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This ability allows the brains of infants and children to grow and develop, and it is thought to underlie recovery from brain injuries in adults.
A new study has found that exercise can increase neuroplasticity in the hippocampus, a region of the brain important for learning and memory. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and published in the journal NeuroImage.
In the study, rats were placed in cages with running wheels. After four weeks, the rats that had Access to running wheels showed increased neuroplasticity in the hippocampus compared to those that did not have access to running wheels.
This is the first study to show that exercise can increase neuroplasticity in the hippocampus. The findings suggest that exercise could be a helpful intervention for conditions associated with reduced neuroplasticity, such as dementia and depression.