Forget what you thought you knew about exercise for teens and young adults, a new study has confirmed that moderate exercise can significantly boost brain power in that age group. Researchers at the University of Otago recently completed an analysis of a large test group that looked at the impact of exercise on the young, and were shocked by the findings. There was a radical improvement in their focus and concentration abilities that had been previously detected.

Why would exercise help?

The new study looked at several different markers that took into account functioning, processing, reaction time while relating them to physiological markers in the brain. What they found is that 30 minutes of exercise done 5 days a week was enough to boost the oxygen levels in the brain while also increasing the amount of endorphins and other hormones released in the body. It had been previously thought that this oxygen effect didn’t have an impact on the young because their brains were still developing. Instead, they found that it has an almost stronger effect on the developing brain that that of the matured brain.

What can more oxygen do for your brain?

The level of oxygen present in the brain has been determined to affect some very important function and cognition abilities. It can help maintain multi-task focus (such as is needed with driving a car), but it also improves the ability to control impulses and perform cause and effect thinking. These functions are performed by very specific parts of the brain that are not fully developed until your mid-twenties. The increase of consistent oxygen levels can speed the ability of these areas to perform better while still growing.

The recommendations apply to all

The findings of this study are changing the recommendations that are given for daily exercise. The exercise level needed to see the greatest results was only moderate. Breathing patterns were identified as the most significant part of the exercise. You need to get to a cardio rate that promotes heavy breathing 5 days a week for 30 minutes. This type of cardio rate can be achieved with moderate exercise such as walking.