Just 10 minutes of physical activity can increase brainpower for a short time afterward, according to a new study published in Neuropsychologia. The finding may be important for older people with limited abilities to exercise, say the authors, and for anyone looking to improve their performance on an upcoming mental task.
To find out, Heath and his colleagues gave 14 healthy young adults an eye-movement test designed to challenge parts of the brain that deal with executive functions, such as decision making, problem solving and inhibition. They were then asked to either sit and read a magazine, or to ride a stationary bike at a moderate-to-vigorous pace, for 10 minutes. Soon afterward, they repeated the eye-movement test a second time.