In the brain, blood flow and cognitive function peak during young adulthood. The new study of 52 young women found that oxygen availability, which is known to positively relate to brain health and function, is higher in adults who exercise regularly.
Women who exercised on a regular basis had higher oxygen availability in the anterior frontal region of the brain and performed best on difficult cognitive tasks.
"Our findings suggest that regular engagement in physical activity may improve brain functioning even in young adults in their prime," said Liana Machado, a senior lecturer in psychology at University of Otago in New Zealand.
Both blood supply to the brain and cognitive functioning appear to benefit from regular exercise, said the study that appeared in the journal Psychophysiology.