The association between exercise and brain health is well established at this point, but new research finds benefits differ depending on the intensity of activity. Translation: Putting together a mix of different intensities—think: adding a few sprints to your longer rides—could help your workouts give your brain a bigger boost.
The study, published in the journal Brain Plasticity, looked at 25 male athletes who spent 30 minutes on a treadmill at low intensity, and 30 minutes at high intensity on a separate day. Before and after each session, functional MRI (fMRI) scans—which measure the changes in blood flow that occur during brain activity—were used to examine connectivity in brain regions linked to specific behavioral processes.
Adding both high- and low-intensity efforts into a workout can boost your mood, ability to process information, pay attention, and regulate your emotions.