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Seems Like Inline Skating Aligns the Electrons in My Brain: Study Shows Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

roadskater's picture

I often tell people who ask (and some who don't) that inline skating for one to several hours aligns my brain. I don't mean anything specific really, but things go better with eating, sleeping, doing, and thinking if I've been skating lately. Sometimes one day of four to six hours of not particularly difficult or fast skating can really improve the look of the world. Well that's me. What do the mice think? Or rather, what do scientists who study mice think.

Check out the article below if my snips are not making sense. Or go run on a mouse wheel for awhile and try again! Seriously the article is done well. 

First, in a recent study, they wanted to

figure out how important physical activity is for generating or growing new neurons in the hippocampus. 

To see whether exercise or other factors in the mouse's environment were boosting neurogenesis they designed a study with four groups:

one with running wheels only, another with running wheels and the toys—including treats and drinks. Another with just the treats and toys. And then in another group that had nothing.

Ooh TREATS and DRINKS! Sounds like my favorite workout! I hope that's the way! Oh. Umm. Well. So it's the wheel-running aerobic exercise that provides the benefit. How much effect is there?

So in mice the amount of neurogenesis as measured by newly surviving cells can be quantified anywhere from double to six times as much in animals that are exercising versus animals that are not....The part of your brain that’s critically involved in remembering things, the hippocampus, more than any other brain area, is the most highly implicated in learning, and memory, and cognitive processes. That part of your brain can vastly increase in size. 

Now I don't know if skating counts as being as good for running on a wheel, since getting those mice to skate is just as hard as he was saying it was for them to teach them to do bench presses! It seems like the more distance (duration?), the more the effect.0

We know you don’t get benefits from stretching or toning your body. There’s some evidence that lifting weights or strength training can have some cognitive benefits. But most studies have looked at aerobic exercise....We do know that new growth is very strongly correlated with the amount that the mice run. The more they run the more new neurons they have, so it seems to be quantitatively related to that running distance, the kind of endurance.

So it seems there's yet another reason to believe that aerobic exercise can help stave off the long decline of the brain, at least. 

it’s not like exercise will make you a huge amount smarter so that all of a sudden you can do calculus. But certainly it will protect the decline that naturally happens as you get older.

But I still want TREATS and DRINKS! See you out there. Soon.


The key to a better brain is exercise - SmartPlanet.com (blog) -

The key to a better brain is exercise
SmartPlanet.com (blog)
You're not doing anything intelligent or thinking-wise when you're running or swimming. Usually I just blank out. As you age your brain tends to deteriorate in terms of its ability to function. Keeping physically active can help prevent that decline.

and more »

[Skate Bike Run Endurance Speed]


eebee's picture

But I wanted to be able to do calculus...

Great article and study. 

I skated last night for the first time in weeks due to illness. This morning on the way to work I was asking myself why I was so darned happy. 

roadskater's picture

Yeah It Has Been a Late Start for Many Due to Illness...Me Too

This week is the first week of anything like training. I was busy with a project in January and beyond. As soon as that was mostly finished, I got a series of colds or sinus infections or whatever you want to call them. When I would go anywhere public and stress myself, including a 21-mile skate on the American Tobacco Trail (cough cough), the next day the germs had jumped on me again.

I got better but nowhere near all the way. Lately, the loop at Country Park might even be a bit much for me, so when my pals are not going, I am just as likely to use a large parking lot with a slight tilt on half to get in some lunch and pre-rush hour skating in. I am gravitationally more challenged after the repeated illness/superbad sugar diet and the delay in cranking up regular skating, so even a flat lot can get my numbers up significantly. 

At lunch I skated about 27 minutes at an average heart rate of 160 ahr (likely unsustainible for an hour...when fit i can usually only manage 154-156 as an all day number) with 175 max hr (which is near the most i go without backing off, though I'd like to see if I can get it up to 186 like I used to be able to). 

The late afternoon session was 31 minutes at 157 ahr and 174 maxhr.

Today was a blast, though! People seemed in a great mood from nice toasty calm weather, and the two brief skate sessions were good for getting stuff done in between and later. 

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