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Running may not be everyone’s favorite activity, but it does have some undeniable benefits. Research done by the University of Arizona found that distance runners’ brains have better functional connectivity than the brains of those who aren’t active, according to Science Daily.
Researchers took MRI scans of the brains of distance runners, compared them to those of sedentary individuals and found that runners had more functional connectivity than the sedentary group. Functional connectivity refers to the connections between different brain regions. Runners had more of these connections in several areas of the brain. A few of the cognitive functions that may be affected by this are planning, decision-making and multitasking, but more research is necessary to confirm that these functions are better in runners than in more sedentary people.
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Although there have not been many studies on the way that repetitive athletic activities affect brain function, they may provide some of the same positive effects as complex tasks that involve fine motor skills.
“These activities that people consider repetitive actually involve many complex cognitive functions — like planning and decision-making — that may have effects on the brain,” David Raichlen, co-designer of the study, said.
If you were thinking of starting to amp up your cardio, now you’ve got some motivation!
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