This Is Your Brain on Exercise

Although much is known about how exercise impacts the general human body, less is known about the specific effects of exercise on the human brain. Therefore, this article provides an overview of how the human brain is influenced by exercise. First, exercise influences brain waves by increasing the amount of higher frequency waves (i.e., beta waves) to increase alertness, attention, and other forms of cognitive engagement. Second, exercise increases brain receptivity to incoming information, enhancing visual perception. Third, exercise can increase the amount of neurotransmitters (i.e., chemicals that transmit information within the nervous system) to decrease levels of depression. Fourth, exercise can help maintain a younger brain by stimulating blood vessel growth, enhancing neurons and promoting the survival of existent neurons. Over time, these improvements may lead to improved memory, balance, and coordination. Fifth, exercise can help build connections between neurons to increase connectivity among different areas of the brain. Overall, although researchers caution that exercise is no “silver bullet” for curing all ailments related to the brain, exercise does appear to offer a number of benefits to the human brain – perhaps even going as far as to replace doctor prescriptions of drugs.

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