How exercise makes the brain better: 7 mechanisms

How exercise makes the brain better: 7 mechanisms

Written By

Aditya Shukla, Cognition Today

You know exercise is good for the brain. But... Do you know what exactly is happening to your brain because of exercise?


Hippocampus size increases

Exercise helps the hippocampus grow. It is the learning and memory center of the brain.

Amygdala activity reduces

Regular exercise decreases negative emotions by reducing activity in the amygdala, which is our emotion center.


BDNF growth

Muscle-building activities trigger the release of brain derived neurotrophic factor - a protein that protects neurons and helps in neurogenesis.


Incubating creative thoughts

The brain processes ideas in the background with new perspectives and connections during exercise, which generally gives creative insights.


Memory boost

Studies show people remember what they learn better a few hours after exercise.


Slows aging

Exercise slows the rate at which the brain ages by increasing brain reserve and reducing stress.


Reaction time reduces

Even short bursts of exercise reduces reaction times for decisions, observation, physical movement, and avoiding injury. Exercise = fast brain.


Summary How exercise improves the brain: 1. Hippocampus grows 2. Reduces negative emotions 3. Signals BDNF 4. Increases creativity 5. Improves recall 6. Slows aging 7. Reaction time reduces