Andy’s Quick Hits (109): Yay! Even Light Physical Activity Improves Brain Function.

Andy Hab
2 min readOct 26, 2021
Photo 121338263 / Light Activity © Tirachard Kumtanom |

You’ve written plenty on how physical activity can improve cognitive function, right?
Right. There is plenty of solid research to show how good physical activity is on cognitive function. This includes improves plasticity (brain rewiring), lower stress and inflammation, improved memory, and general cognitive function. You can read two of my summaries here and here.

But you are now saying that even light activity improves brain function, so no need to go for a run or even a walk?!
Yes, this study by Suwabe et al., a collaboration between University of California and University of Tsukuba in Japan, showed that just 10 minutes of light activity such as yoga, tai chi, or walking, immediately improved memory.

That’s great news!
Indeed. But it is only one study of 36 people. Also we don’t know if this applies to other cognitive areas.

…nevertheless we do know that light physical activity is in general very good for you. A recent meta analysis showed positive benefits on just about all health markers. Here’s also a nice article to read on this.

So, in short, you shouldn’t just focus on getting physical exercise but simply being active.
That’s right light activity of any form, at home, in the garden, a short stroll, as part of a structured activity like yoga, are very good ways to keep healthy.

Andy publishes a quick hit every weekday on all things the brain, behaviour, and business. Please follow to receive your daily dose. Full list here.

Andy is author of leading brains Review a monthly e-magazine on all things the brain, behaviour, and business.

Kazuya Suwabe, Kyeongho Byun, Kazuki Hyodo, Zachariah M. Reagh, Jared M. Roberts, Akira Matsushita, Kousaku Saotome, Genta Ochi, Takemune Fukuie, Kenji Suzuki, Yoshiyuki Sankai, Michael A. Yassa, Hideaki Soya.
Rapid stimulation of human dentate gyrus function with acute mild exercise.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; 201805668
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1805668115



Andy Hab

Sharing fascinating, fun, and important knowledge on the brain and human behaviour - most days. And masters track athlete - still going strong!