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Exactly Why Exercise Keeps Your Brain Healthy, According To Science

By: Leigh Weingus

  • Ever feel like health news is too overwhelming, fast-paced, or hard to decipher? Us too.
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  • We’ll tell you exactly what you need to know—and how it might help you become a healthier and happier human.

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From preventing heart disease to alleviating depression, the physical and mental benefits of exercise are obvious. But according to a new review of research published in the journal NeuroImage, regular exercise is an excellent way to prevent the brain from shrinking and protect against cognitive decline as we age.

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According to lead researcher Joseph Firth, after age 40 even the healthiest brains begin to decline by 5 percent per decade—but because of a chemical called BDNF, exercise can prevent this decline.

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When we exercise, more BDNF is released in the brain, causing the hippocampus to react and the brain to grow, changing brain volume.

“[The reason the brain declines] is partly due to less BDNF in the brain,” says Firth. “Exercise regulates the BDNF and prevents it from deteriorating.”

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So, what counts as regular exercise? According to the CDC, 150 minutes of exercise per week is enough to get the benefits—that’s just 20 minutes a day. You’ve got this.

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Source(s): MBG

by Meryl M