From helping with weight loss to alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and depression, it’s no secret that getting our sweat on makes us happier, healthier humans.
But new research has just found another major benefit of working out regularly: better memory.
According to a new study published in the journal Neurolmage, short bouts of aerobic exercise (such as HIIT training) can prevent our brains from shrinking and protect against cognitive decline.
Lead researcher Joseph Firth puts this down to a chemical called BDNF, which is released when we exert ourselves. He explains that this causes the hippocampus – the part of the brain that is associated with memory, emotions and motivation – to grow in volume in response.
“[The reason the brain declines] is partly due to less BDNF in the brain,” Firth explains.
“Exercise regulates the BDNF and prevents it from deteriorating.”
So, how much pounding the pavement do we actually need to do before this takes effect?
The Department Of Health recommends at least 150 minutes each week for adults between the ages of 18-64 (which equates to just 20 mins a day.)
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.