For student athletes who put countless hours into hitting the books and their exercise routines, there’s some good news: a new study from Duke University shows that a good diet and regular exercise may help the mind function better.
“It looks like exercise and diet improve the range of cognitive function,” said Patrick Smith, an intern in clinical neuropsychology and a member of a Duke University team reporting the finding online in the March 8 issue of Hypertension. “It helps executive function, learning and psychomotor speed.”
The study, which involved more than 120 overweight men and women, was originally intended to look at the effect of diet and exercise on blood pressure in people with mild to moderate high blood pressure. However, after looking at other data that linked exercise and diet to better brain function, the researchers decided to include mental studies as well. Thankfully they did.
The group that ate well and exercised regularly in the study had an overall 30 percent improvement in mental function by the end of the four-month period.
While the findings of the study are still being investigated, it may mean that student athletes can benefit from this information. Eating right and performing regular exercise may encourage better mental function, which means that student athletes can get a boost both in sports and in academics.