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  • Sharon Benzvi

Workout & your brain!

Working out is important. I’m sure you’ve heard that before.

You have this idea that it will help you loose weight, it’s good for your heart, it will boost your mood, but do you know how it actually affects your brain?

The truth is fascinating and might convince you to actually work out…

Working out is directly connected to your grey matter. Yes, that means exercising will make you smarter! Exercising helps release hormones which provides a great environment for the growth of brain cells! It will also help brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connection between cells in many important cortical areas of the brain.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that, in humans, is encoded by the BDNF gene. BDNF is a member of the neurotrophin family of growth factors, which are related to the canonical nerve growth factor.

Physical exercise has been consistently shown to increase levels of BDNF mRNA and protein expression in the hypothalamus, striatum, and other cortical areas.

Exercise leads to the secretion of molecules by muscle and fat cells, affecting levels of growth factors in the brain. This influences the shape and function of the hippocampus by accelerating new neuron growth and increasing the volume of the brain region.

Physical activity not only helps the hippocampus, but also the key brain center responsible for regulation of fear (your amygdala). Disorders of the amygdala coincide with increased feelings of distress and anxiety.

A new research shows that working out will help the blood flow to the brain, assisting those older with their memory, (after 6 months of working out, even if they didn’t work out before).

So, overall, exercise improves brain function. In addition, increasing insulin sensitivity in dopamine-related brain regions through exercise may help decrease the risk of a person to develop type 2 diabetes, along with the benefits for mood and cognition.

Do you really need an additional reason to start being active?

You don’t need to run a marathon tomorrow, but how about a 30 minutes brisk walk?

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines: Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

So, what are you waiting for?

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