A quick sweat session can improve your brain function in the short term, a new analysis finds, even if you don't regularly work out.
When it comes to exercise and your health, most evidence favors consistency over occasional bursts of activity. But a one-off bout of exercise could be enough to provide some brain benefit, researchers from VU University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Quick workouts can impact higher brain function, particularly the part of the brain that regulates self-control, across 6- to 35-year-olds, researchers found after analyzing 19 studies involving short spurts of exercise. Exercise immediately boosts cerebral blood flow to the pre-frontal areas of the brain, or the part responsible for higher brain functions.
Boosting self-control on a daily basis can be valuable. Self-control is a limited resource in the brain, according to past research, including a landmark paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. By exerting too much self-control too soon, you could risk giving in to temptation later. For example, ordering egg whites over French toast for breakfast could deplete your self-control tank enough that you dive into a hamburger and fries for dinner.
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