How Exercise Can Change Your Brain

How Exercise Can Change Your Brain

by Posted on: September 16, 2015Categories: LiveWell 24/7   

The health benefits of exercise are undeniable. Physical activity strengthens your heart, helps you keep your weight under control, and acts as an incredibly effective stress reliever. Why wouldn’t you want to exercise every day, right? Despite all of these health benefits, a recent study shows that approximately 80% of American adults do not engage in the recommended amount of weekly exercise (at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity and 15 minutes of vigorous activity). Regardless of where you fall in these percentages, recent research on the effects of exercise on the brain might be the motivation you need to restart your fitness journey or keep it going strong!

During exercise, the growth of blood vessels sending oxygenated blood to the brain speeds up. This is critical to healthy brain function because the brain requires more oxygen than any other organ in the human body. Exercise also boosts the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that is responsible for making new memories. Strengthening your hippocampus can also benefit you if you are experiencing decreased creativity at work, because it also influences your ability to imagine innovative ways to complete tasks. Regular physical activity also aids in your brain’s production of synapses, or the connections between brain cells. These synapses are responsible for transmitting information from your brain to different areas of your body, and increased synapse ability can help you improve your balance and motor skills. Finally, exercise causes your brain to produce serotonin to maintain mood balance, adrenaline to make you feel exhilarated, dopamine to motivate you, and endorphins to trigger a positive feeling and reduce pain. Fuel your mind and body today by getting active!

Sources: CBS News, New York Times, Mind Body Green, MeMD


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