Exercise and the Brain

Research shows exercise does more than build muscles and help prevent heart disease. New science shows that it also boosts brainpower!

Aerobic exercise helps the heart pump more blood to the brain, along with the rest of the body.  More blood means more oxygen, and thus better-nourished brain cells.

For the first time, scientists have coaxed the human brain into growing nerve cells, simply by putting subjects on a three-month aerobic workout regimen.  Other scientists have found that vigorous exercise can cause older nerve cells to form dense, interconnected webs that make the brain run faster and more efficiently.  And there are clues that physical activity can stave off the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, and other cognitive disorders.  Research suggests exercise spurs growth in a brain structure associated with memory, possibly leading to improved function.  When new nerve cells form in the brain, their growth is accompanied by the creation of blood vessels.  Researchers found that exercise increased blood volume in the dentate gyrus (a region of the hippocampus, which is used in memory), implying new cells were forming in the area.

No matter what your age, it seems, a strong, active body is crucial for building a strong, active mind.

-Resource, Newsweek March 27th, 2007, Harvard Medical School

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