Exercise has long been known and frequently touted as beneficial to your
waistline and your heart health. Yet, in more recent years, the
benefits of exercise on the brain and mental health have become a more mainstream topic of conversation.
Still, many people may not understand why those brain benefits of physical
activity are so remarkable and profound. The neurological science behind
the scenes of this phenomenon is technical and fascinating. But you don’t
need to be a neurologist to understand the how and why of exercise’s
effects on your brain.
Effects of Exercise on Your Brain
To begin explaining the positive effects of exercise on your brain, a simple
understanding of something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or
BDNF, is helpful. Without getting too technical, BDNF is a substance found
in the brain that helps
keep your brain cells healthy while encouraging new brain cell growth and facilitating communication
Some have likened BDNF to fertilizer for the brain. High levels of BDNF
in the brain aid in neuroplasticity, helping our brains grow, change and
adapt more nimbly in response to the world around us. Low BDNF levels,
on the other hand, are associated with
memory problems and brain degeneration over time.
So, if BDNF is such a good thing for the brain, how can we produce more
of it? As it turns out, BDNF is created when the brain is stimulated.
Many historical studies focused on brain stimulation with “brain
game” activities like word problems and crossword puzzles. While
these activities are suitable, newer and compelling research suggests that
physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, can be the ultimate BDNF brain booster.
HERE to read full article.