We know the effect of exercise on physical health and are discovering more about the effect of exercise on mental health.
But the effect of physical exercise on brain health has remained somewhat mysterious.
‘Whether exercise can change the structure of your brain is quite a contentious issue’ says Joseph Firth of Western Sydney University and the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM).
‘There have been a lot of studies either way – some studies show it did have an effect and some studies showed it didn’t’.
In a new study published in the journal NeuroImage – Firth led a team in reviewing the body of research in order to ‘gain a more definitive answer and answer the question – does it actually change the brain size?’.
Firth – whose own research has explored the effect of exercise for people with psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia – found that exercise ‘can indeed’ change the way our brain is structured.