UA Research: Brains Evolved to Need Exercise

UA Research: Brains Evolved to Need Exercise

Mounting scientific evidence shows that exercise is good not only for our bodies, but for our brains. Yet, exactly why physical activity benefits the brain is not well understood.

In a new article published in the journal Trends in Neurosciences, University of Arizona researchers suggest that the link between exercise and the brain is a product of our evolutionary history and our past as hunter-gatherers.

UA anthropologist David Raichlen and UA psychologist Gene Alexander, who together run a research program on exercise and the brain, propose an "adaptive capacity model" for understanding, from an evolutionary neuroscience perspective, how physical activity impacts brain structure and function.

Their argument: As humans transitioned from a relatively sedentary apelike existence to a more physically demanding hunter-gatherer lifestyle, starting around 2 million years ago, we began to engage in complex foraging tasks that were simultaneously physically and mentally demanding, and that may explain how physical activity and the brain came to be so connected.

Read the full story at UA News:
https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/ua-research-brains-evolved-need-exercise?utm_source=uanow&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=

Read about Drs. Raichlen and Alexander's research in the Psychology Today article:
Hunter-gatherer Ancestry May Be Why Our Brains Need Exercise
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201706/hunter-gatherer-ancestry-may-be-why-our-brains-need-exercise

Published Date: 
06/27/2017 - 13:23