IT'S PAINFUL TO SAY IT, but I've noticed that as I get older my brain function has gotten a little fuzzier than it used to be. Fatigue affects it. Stress affects it. Lack of sleep affects it quite a lot. I’ve known for years that exercise helps to maintain overall health, and I can feel how aerobic exercise truly does sharpen my thinking.
But what's exciting to me is the idea of neurogenesis. Exercise augments adult neurogenesis, which is the creation of new brain cells in an already mature brain. (Now that's good news!)
Here’s a brief article, written by Gretchen Reynolds for the New York Times: For Your Brain's Sake, Keep Moving, that talks about the studies being done it this area. It shows that exercise changes the structure and function of the brain, and some forms may be much more effective than others at bulking up the brain. One study suggests, “sustained aerobic exercise might be most beneficial for brain health in humans.”
And, while the studies referenced here used rats and not people, and running, not cycling, could it be that humans riding bikes may have the same impact? Too bad they couldn’t have put the rats on indoor cycling bikes instead of treadmills.
I'm convinced that regular cycling at an aerobic level is good for my health and my brain. Have a read and see if it makes sense to you too.