How does exercise benefit brain function?


How does exercise benefit brain function?

In: Biology

Can you be more specific? Which aspect of function are you curious about?

Mainly because it stimulates blood flow to the brain. During a workout this clears stress hormones and encourages dopamine release. This results in better sleep and increased motivation, which can in turn positively benefit your health and brain. And of course the brain needs about 1/5th of the body’s oxygen, so keeping the heart strong and arteries supple and encouraging capillary growth keeps up healthy oxygen levels.

Also when you exercise you are stimulating the nervous system, because the body’s movements are controlled by the nervous system. This is also the system your brain is a part of, and the result is like a “physical focus”; like meditation this reduces anxiety and also increases neural connections, which causes growth of new brain cells.

Basically the brain is part of your body, and keeping your body healthy keeps your brain healthy, which is good for it.

As you might expect, exercise is a fairly stressful activity for your muscles, however it’s also stressful for your brain. Muscle cells and neurons release progrowth, or survival signals when they are under stress; so that they can perform to the level being demanded of them. These signals are in the form of proteins released from the cells, and so are relatively broad acting: they affect everything nearby. Your brain, has individual neurons that specifically activate one muscle fiber. Coordinated movements use gobs of muscle fibers, both individually and together in a coordinated effort. Exercise activates all of these neurons to release these ‘grow and do better’ factors throughout your whole brain and body. New neurons are born to regulate the coordination of muscle fibers/groups, which in effect de-age neurons nearby these new neurons.

So; you are repairing/pimping up your brain, because the body is lazy, and only wants to perform to the level that it gets challenged to. The brain is very similar to a muscle, if you want it to get stronger, you have to use it, and stress it.