For decades, researchers have been discovering evidence of the positive relationship between physical exercise and cognitive performance. In fact, there are a number of studies that have shown how exercise helps the brain resist physical shrinkage, enhances cognitive flexibility and sharpens the mind. Other studies also concluded that individuals who exercise have healthier brains and perform significantly better on cognitive tests than those who are sedentary.
But if you do not have time to incorporate physical activity into your regular routine, does this mean you are at a serious disadvantage? Not necessarily. Neurologists have found that even moderate exercise, such as walking for just 40 minutes three times a week, can stimulate your brain and enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat declines in brain function due to aging and even increase cognitive skills.
Stretching has also been found to have positive effects on brainpower. In one study, one half of the participants added stretching and toning to their weekly routine, but changed nothing else about their lifestyles, and the other half added moderate aerobic activity to their routine. The aerobic activity boosted the brain more effectively than the stretching and toning, which was not a surprise given the already documented benefits of exercise, but those who only stretched and toned still had better results on cognitive performance tests after one year into the study than they had at its onset.