HEALTHY LIVING
10/31/2012 11:52 pm ET Updated Nov 02, 2012

Exercise Could Improve Your Brain Functioning, Study Suggests

What's good for the body is good for the brain.

Findings presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress show the brain-boosting effects of just four months of exercise.

"It's reassuring to know that you can at least partially prevent that [cognitive] decline by exercising and losing weight," study researcher Dr. Martin Juneau, director of prevention of the Montreal Heart Institute, said in a statement.

The study included overweight and sedentary adults with an average age of 49. They underwent twice-weekly sessions of intense interval training for four weeks -- which included circuit weights and exercise bikes -- before and after which they underwent tests of their cognitive functioning, cardiac output, body composition and exercise tolerance and capacity.

By the end of the study, the researchers found that not only were the participants' body measurements all improved -- they also did better on the tests of cognitive functioning.

"At least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week can make a huge difference to manage risk factors for heart disease and stroke," Dr. Beth Abramson, spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, said in a statement. "There are many benefits of exercise -- we know it can make us feel better. This suggests it can make us 'think better' as well."

Recently, a study in the journal Neurology showed that physical exercise trumps mental exercise in beating brain shrinkage (linked with memory problems and even Alzheimer's disease), HuffPost 50 reported.

For more ways exercising is good for mental health, click through the slideshow:

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

CONVERSATIONS