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Runners showed greater functional connectivity — or connections between distinct brain regions — than non-runners within several areas of the brain, including the frontal cortex, which is important for cognitive functions such as planning, decision-making and the ability to switch attention between tasks.

If you’re thinking about taking up running as your New Year’s resolution and still need some convincing, consider this: MRI scans reveal that endurance runners’ brains have greater functional connectivity than the brains of more sedentary individuals.

University of Arizona researchers compared brain scans of young adult cross country runners to young adults who don’t engage in regular physical activity. The runners, overall, showed greater functional connectivity — or connections between distinct brain regions — within several areas of the brain, including the frontal cortex, which is important for cognitive functions such as planning, decision-making and the ability to switch attention between tasks.

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