New study found that jogging can aid in the development of new brain cells that can enhance memory and learning. Swiss researchers from the University of Basel analyzed test mice to see the effects of running in their brain activity.

The test mice were separated into two groups. One group had running wheels inside their houses, the other did not. The mice that ran on wheels had double the normal number of newly developed neurons. These were also able to better separate new objects from recognizable ones. In adult humans, the development of new brain cells is called adult neurogenesis.

"Our research indicates that exercise-induced increase in neurogenesis improves pattern separation by supporting unique and detailed long-term representations of similar but nevertheless different memory items," said University of Basel professor, Josef Bischofberger, the study's lead researcher. The study findings were published [pdf] in the Brain Plasticity journal.

Pattern separation is exercised daily with various memory-related activities. For instance, when people first learn to play chess, it is crucial for the players to recall the pieces' individual shapes in order to differentiate the queen from a pawn.

The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) recommends consulting a doctor prior to running, especially post-injury or prevalence of an existing health condition. For people who have been inactive for a long time, walking can help build the fitness level and endurance people need to be able to enjoy running to its fullest.

Running is one of the physically and mentally challenging exercises that people can do without much need to equipment. NHS advises to get a good pair of running shoes to avoid running-related injuries and replacing them every 300 miles of hard work.

Each run should be preceded with ample warm-up which includes stretching for at least five minutes. Beginners should learn how to slowly ease themselves into running, rather than sprinting and stressing themselves out in one run alone. Start with a brisk walk, followed by a light jog and then a run which can last for as long as you are comfortable. Each run should end with a good post-run stretch. Regular runs and improved stamina will allow longer running intervals as you move towards your fitness journey. 

Photo: Claude Robillard | Flickr

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