A new study reports that low-intensity exercise (walking on a treadmill) stimulates brain networks associated with cognitive control and attention. In contrast, the researchers found that high-intensity exercise (running on a treadmill) activates brain networks involved with emotional processing.
Both low- and high-intensity physical activity (walking or running) on a treadmill are associated with an uptick in positive mood, according to the researchers. These findings (Schmitt et al., 2019) were recently published in a special issue of Brain Plasticity dedicated to “exercise and cognition.”
For this study, researchers at the University Hospital Bonn in Germany used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (Rs-fMRI) to individually assess changes in brain connectivity after walking or running on a treadmill.