Over recent years, there has been a great deal of research into how bodily fitness might influence the mind.
For instance, studies have concluded that physical fitness can reduce the risk of dementia, relieve depressive symptoms, and more.
There is also evidence that physical activity boosts the cognitive performance of healthy individuals, people of different ages, and participants with cognitive impairments.
Similarly, some studies have shown positive links between physical fitness and changes in brain structure.
The authors of the latest study in this field, who published their findings in Scientific Reports, note that previous studies had certain limitations.
In some cases, for instance, they did not account for variables that could play an important role.
As an example, researchers could associate low levels of physical fitness with higher blood pressure. If a study finds that high physical fitness has links with cognitive abilities, scientists could argue that in fact, it is lower blood pressure that boosts cognitive power.
The same could apply for several factors that have links with fitness, such as body mass index (BMI), blood glucose levels, and education status.
Also, most studies concentrate on only one marker of mental performance at a time, such as memory.
As the authors of the current study explain, “studies investigating associations between [physical fitness], white matter integrity, and multiple differential cognitive domains simultaneously are rare.”