10 Ways A Good Workout Changes Your Brain

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As a neuroscientist, I’ve always been fascinated with the awesome malleability of our brains. I focused much of my early career studying the changes in the brain that occur as we form new long-term memories. But more recently, I’ve become fascinated with a very different form of brain plasticity.

This new research direction was inspired by striking changes I noticed in my own brain after an exercise “wake-up call” finally motivated me to start a regular exercise routine. Yes, I got stronger and fit, but the most profound impact of this new exercise routine was not on my body but on my brain. I was in a great mood, my memory and attention seemed to work better and my productivity skyrocketed.

Exercise has literally transformed my life, and it can transform yours, too. Here I’ve shared with you some of the key findings about how exercise changes the brain’s anatomy, physiology and function.

1. It makes you happy.

Exercise boosts your mood in a number of different ways, including increasing the levels of the mood-related neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenalin as well as the neurohormone endorphin, a natural version of morphine produced by the brain and associated with “runners high”.

2. It releases “feel-good” chemicals associated with pleasure.

The neurotransmitter dopamine has been associated with pleasure and reward. Dopamine is released in the brain when you fall in love, when you win a jackpot at the slot machines and … when you exercise. The dopamine release may also be related to that positive “addiction” some people experience with regular exercise that can lead to general crankiness when you don’t get your regular exercise “hit.”

3. It improves your attention span.

The finding in humans that’s been replicated the most is that aerobic exercise enhances our ability to maintain and shift attention. Attention is a function dependent on the prefrontal cortex. In fact, just an hour of aerobic exercise has been shown to cause significant improvements in attention in people. It has also been shown that long-term increases in exercise enhance attention in people.

4. It’s great for your brain.

Studies in rodents as well as in humans show that exercise can enhance the growth of new blood vessels in the brain (angiogenesis). Because the brain is the number one consumer of oxygen in the body, the more blood vessels in the brain, the more oxygen available to better help us do everything from thinking to seeing, feeling to moving.

5. It (literally) helps your brain grow.

There are only two types of cells in the brain: neurons and glia. While the neurons (brain cells) are the workhorses in the brain, glia are the support cells. Early studies showed that if you raise rats in “enriched” environments with lots of toys, large spaces to run around and other rats to play with, you could actually see the outer covering of the brain (the cortex) get thicker.

These changes in thickness were largely due to the birth of new glia cells. Like a muscle, a bigger brain is thought to be one with enhanced functions, with the additional glia cells are contributing to these improved functions.

6. It helps you sprout new synapses.

Synapses are the connection point where one neuron communicates with another. Studies in rats show that when they were trained on complex mazes requiring balance and motor learning, both the size and the number of synapses (connections between brain cells) increased in the motor areas of the rat brain. These new synapses are thought to underlie the increased amounts of motor learning taking place in these animals.

7. It boosts your memory.

Since the 1950s, we’ve known since that the hippocampus is important for memory. It was later discovered that the hippocampus is one of only two brain areas where new neurons are born in adulthood. This phenomenon is called adult hippocampal neurogenesis. With rodents, it was also found that exercise (in the form of a running wheel for rodents) can enhance the normal levels of adult hippocampal neurogenesis that results in better memory performance in rats.

8. Exercise increases the size of your hippocampus.

There’s convincing evidence that aerobic exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus in the elderly. While a bigger hippocampus is thought to be a better functioning one, it remains to be shown that people with larger hippocampi due to exercise also perform better on memory tasks.

9. It can help you regulate your moods and beat stress.

An exciting new finding is that the hippocampus is not only important for memory, but is associated with regulating mood as well. Increased exercise can protect rats from the destructive effects of stress in the brain and it is thought that hippocampal neurogenesis plays a key role in this projective function.

10. It may build your imagination.

My favorite example of how exercise can change your brain is currently a possibility, rather than a given. It’s recently been shown that the hippocampus is important for imagining future events. Patients with damage to the hippocampus are impaired at imagining possible future events and during brain imaging studies, the hippocampus is activated when subjects are asked to imagine possible future scenarios. These findings raise the intriguing possibility that enhanced neurogenesis in the hippocampus may not only improve memory and mood, but could enhance our imagination as well.

Source: www.mindbodygreen.com

2016-01-08T11:24:11+00:00

Related Questions

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    Q: I have a 17 years old daughter that is taking the brain toner for her epileptic seizures for about a month now. I wanted to know how long with the effects take place to allow sufficient oxygen to her brain, and will the seizures eventually cease? My daughter is on a herbal, and conscious diet, but I am still working on her eating out to restaurants every now and then. Working on her getting the proper rest each day, since she is a junior in high school. Please let me know if there is anything else I need to do, since she did have a small seizure today, which is better than the ones she has had in the past. I know it will take some time for the brain toner to work.

    A:

    Patience is required in healing, Beloved! Let nature take her natural course! Also, there may be underlying metaphysical causative factors for the seizures. I would suggest adding Ethereal Bliss with Brain Tuner, and she should also drink the Brain Tuner Tea along with taking the capsules. These are optional, but I do recommend them, at least to experiment with in hopes of facilitating elimination of the seizures. Have her perform deep breathing exercises on a daily basis too! A raw foods/vegan diet is BEST for her too! Undoubtedly so! Those restaurants are using some very dangerous chemicals. Drive this point home to her!

    Product Links:
    Ethereal Bliss
    Brain Tuner
    Brain Tuner Tea

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    Q: I gave my daughter 1 capsule of BRAIN TUNER every morning for about two weeks now. She now has a mild to average seizure every day instead of twice or three times a week. And since taken this Brain Tuner two weeks ago she has had two bad attacked. Normally she will get a bad attack every 2 - 3 weeks once. Most of her attack come during her sleep or during an afternoon nap, i.e. she will wake up from this sleep/nap and stay still for 30 sec - 1 minutes and the attack will come and her entire palms and feet will turn cold and heart starting to beat very fast. And once in a while if she does not get enough sleep she will get a hard attack out of the blue during the day otherwise most of the seizure attack during her sleep. Does this Brain Tuner stimulate her brain and causes the attack? What other remedy should I take to cut down this seizure?

    A:

    Sounds like the body (brain) is being greatly regulated, but if the BRAIN TUNER is speeding up the attack of seizures, abstain from using it and just give OXY-DROPS in glass or cup or water (20 drops per cup/glass). Normally a thing increases before it decreases but if this causes concern then abstain and try something else.

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    Q: What kinds of foods improve the brain power tremendously especially memory and thought. Can you please list them for me? I will appreciate it very much.

    A:

    Raw fruits and vegetables! herbs such as Gotu Kola and Gingko Biloba.

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    Q: Is there anything that will slow the progress of early onset dementia. My brother has been diagnosed at age 54 as having the brain of a 84 year old man, via a MRI. His doctor said Ariset would not help him as the white matter of his brain has covered the front and back of his brain

    A:

    For dementia, I recommend NERVES FORMULA, CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM FORMULA, and BRAIN TUNER.

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    Q: I just purchased the FULL BODY DETOX for myself. But I need something for my 35 year old Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) son. He was in a motorcycle accident on April 14, 2007. He hit his head real hard. He injured his head all over. He was not wearing a helmet. This was his first time getting on a motorcycle without a helmet. First, Doctors said he would be dead in 3 days. Well, since he was still alive after 4 weeks they said that he would live in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. Well, now it's been 10 months and he is talking, asking questions, standing up on his good leg, because his right leg and arm is contracted. He is still out there a little but he is progressing very well. His speech is slurred a bit. He can feed himself a little, but like I said he is still out there some what. Oh, going to the bathroom is a hit and miss. Sometimes he will tell you he has to go and sometimes he will not. Then, sometimes he will tell you he has to go and then he will tell you it was a false alarm. We still put diapers on him. I still change him and he has not become ashamed yet. So I was just wondering if you have something for his brain injuries. His long term memory is getting there, but short term memory is short.

    A:

    Doctors are a straight mess, specializing in negativity! They taint hope, optimism, and inspiration. Have your son take Dherbs.Com NERVES FORMULA (3 caps every night), CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM FORMULA (3 caps daily), and BRAIN TUNER (6 caps daily) and drink the BRAIN TUNER TEA (1-2 cups daily) and he'll come back a round. Stay positive! Healing is a miracle, so claim and welcome it!

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    Q: What should one take to nourish the brain. Not like gingko or stuff to keep you alert, or soy lecithin, but actually nourish and feed the brain? And do you sell such a product?

    A:

    BRAIN TUNER and CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM FORMULA

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    Q: I was reading about a famous black author who died of brain cancer and I wanted to know what does it mean on a metaphysical level? Cancer of the brain, breast, colon, mouth. What does this signify other than extreme toxicity? What does poor circulation mean metaphysically speaking? Do you think there is a link between hair dyes, hair relaxers (burners) and brain cancer and lupus among black females. This is "off the cuff" but I hate seeing black females with straightened hair and hair coloring. I really hate it. I hate long claws (fake fingernails).

    A:

    Metaphysically, cancer denotes a feeling being eaten up (on the inside) by some emotion or emotions, always negative emotions. Mouth cancer - the person refused to speak out their hurt, anger, pain, etc. Breast cancer - the female failed to get things off of her chest or neglected caring for herself (nurturing herself, her wounds and pains, etc.). Colon cancer - the person couldn't stomach things but failed to release what was emotionally eating away at them.

    Metaphysically speaking, poor circulation means your "life flow" is stagnant due to the burdens of life "weighing you down." Most people with poor circulation have weight issues. In addition they may be "poor" and their cash flow does not "circulate" the way they'd would like and so worries about bills and other financial responsibility makes them eat away their worries whereby they gain weight and hamper their bodily circulation.

    And yes, chemicals in hair products (dyes, conditioners, relaxers) are playing a role in certain cancers of the head (i.e. brain cancer).

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    Q: I am writing for advice about a brain tumor. My daughter, 14, was diagnosed two weeks ago with a grade II brain tumor (fibrillary astrocytoma). A neurosurgeon placed a "shunt" in her head a week ago. Speaking with a number of physicians in Atlanta that specialize in pediatric neurology, it seems our options are limited, and we've been directed to St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, TN, for a 6 week treatment of radiation and chemotherapy (tarceva). We know there are risks, but we seem to have no other choice in the conventional medicine arena. Here are my questions. What holistic approach could we take? The tumor is the size of an orange and is growing around her brain like a vine on a bush. It is also bithalamic, that is, covering both her left and right thalamus. She is an honor student, but we are seeing signs of some erosion i.e. she takes frequent naps, does not seem to know when to take herself to the restroom, and is running fevers. The doctors have her on steroids to help with the swelling of her three recent operations as well as something else. My preference is to try to the holistic approach first, but we don't have a lot of time. What are the time-frames associated with your treatment? I know something of this nature will take some time to take effect. I should mention that the prognosis is not very promising.

    A:

    Don't worry about time, just take a natural course. Chemo and radiation will do the poor child in. This would poison her. But this is you guy's choice here! I would give the child BRAIN TUNER TEA daily (2 cups daily) and DETOX TEA nightly. Stop feeding the tumor by giving the child bad food, i.e. meat, eggs, dairy products, refined grains and starches, etc.

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    Q: Will the BRAIN TUNER herbs help with involuntary shakiness when I write?

    A:

    IT MAY! GIVE IT A TRY AND SEE FOR YOURSELF. NOTHING BEATS FAILURE BUT A TRY!

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    Q: Great article. Doctors and mothers often say that if a fever gets too high that it can cause brain damage. As I was writing the previous sentence- the answer intuitively came to me. The brain can get "cooked" if there isn't enough moisture in the body. So drinking a TON of water is imperative.

    A:

    THANK YOU, Beloved!

    Doctors taught scared ignorant mothers to believe that a high fever (if not brought down) can cause brain damage so as to sell fever medicine. Everything in Western medicine is based upon fear, fear, fear! Abd for what? PROFIT and CONTROL!

    The body intelligence would never cook the brain unless a person's dharma was so severe that the brain and the body would do the most craziest things to help kill the person so as to prevent/end the misery and suffering and to stop the severe breach of contract (as we contracted for our lives and physical body in this present incarnation).

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    Q: How effective is Hemisphere Synchronization for someone losing Brain cells?

    A:

    Not that effective! The procedure is to BALANCE the hemispheres of the brain only, not restore brain cells. You can restore the brain cells by using the mind more. Check out our MENTAL SCIENCE MANUAL (e-book).

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    Q: I know of somebody who has brain cancer who is on the verge of dying and wants to live. I was wondering if you have any dherbs products that can heal him? Also I wanted to know Is Dherbs still going to put out the natural pomade for hair?

    A:

    FOR CANCER, ALWAYS BEGIN WITH THE FULL BODY DETOX AND AFTER THE DETOX HAVE HIM OR HER TAKE 5 CAPSULES OF ELECTRIC GREENS CELL FOOD EVERY 3 HOURS PER DAY. THE DIET SHOULD BE ALL RAW FOODS TOO. OH YES, THE NATURAL POMADE IS STILL COMING OUT. WE ARE JUST BACKED UP RIGHT NOW. OUR RADIO PROMOTIONS WITH RUSS PARR AND MICHAEL BAISDEN CAUSED DHERBS.COM TO REALLY BLOW UP. IT'S CRAZY HERE!

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    Q: I had brain surgery 31 years ago. Now, I have so much scar tissue on the cerebellum [where the tumor was], that I am slowly becoming disabled. I can not drive, work, or walk with out looking or feeling drunk. I constantly have nystagmus, that is caused by the weight on the cerebellum. I want to know if there is anything, homeopathic/herb wise I can do to help decrease or get rid of the scar tissue?

    A:

    Take 6 capsules daily of Enzymes Formula, 3 capsules daily of Brain Tuner, and 3 capsules of CNS (Central Nervous System) Formula. These will help to repair your damaged scar tissue. Take them faithfully and be patient (as you have serious scar tissue damage). The herbs will begin to help repair the damaged tissue.

    Product Links:
    Enzymes Formula
    Brain Tuner
    Central Nervous System Formula

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    Q: You list going to the gym and jogging as dangerous activities. I thought exercise was important and vital? Could you please explain your position a little further for me. I really enjoy your articles. They are very informative and thorough. I look forward to your response. Thanks!

    A:

    Exercise is great, but the healthy exercises include Pilates, yoga, tai-chi, qi chong, stretching, swimming, etc. Jogging is okay if on sand, dirt, or grass. If on cement/asphalt - DANGEROUS (destroys the bones and uterus in women). The gym is okay but weight lifting and other exercises are dangerous and destroy connective tissue.

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    Q: I had my stroke in 2003, as a result of brain surgery. If the stroke was from surgery, tissue was damaged. What would you suggest? Raw food diet & herbs? I have partial left side paralysis, and nerve cell damage to my right eye. Is there any hope after 6 years, for healing a hemorrhage stroke holistically?

    A:

    Yes, raw foods diet, and some vegan foods too. You don't have to go completely raw. To heal from the damage that led to your stroke, take daily Cerebral Vascular Formula, Nerves Formula, CNS Formula, Circul-Aid Formula, and Veins Formula. Take 3 capsules each daily for approximately 3 months. Add Oxy-Drops to each glass of drinking water. Give deep breathing a try! Use visualization techniques to get your mind involved in your healing. Consider reading our "Mental Science Manual." (optional). You can heal, Beloved. With God all things are possible!

    Please take time to read our article entitled- Stroke: Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)
    Stroke: Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)

    Product Links:
    Cerebral-Vascular Formula
    Central Nervous System Formula
    Circul-Aid Formula
    Nerves Formula
    Veins Formula
    Oxy-Drops
    The Mental Science Manual

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    Q: I have a friend who has fluid on the brain and has to receive spinal taps every 2 months for over a year now. She has also gained about 40lbs with the illness and meds they have her on. Do you have any herb suggestions that may help her with her illness?

    A:

    WITHOUT A DOUBT PUT THIS FRIEND ON THE FULL BODY DETOX CLEANSE AND PERIODICALLY SO (EVERY 3-4 MONTH) AND TO CONSIDER A PERMANENT DIETARY CHANGE ALSO.

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    Q: I'am 62 years old and sometimes I forget things, and I have to do something this. I have a job managing a department of 50 employees in a Hotel in Miami Beach. Do you have something I could take in order to keep my brain and memory sharp and strong for my future starting now? Please, I appreciate your answer and thanks for all. My heath has improved so much since I started taking your supplements eyes formula, cardio vascular formula etc. Thank you, thank you, so much for everything you doing with humanity

    A:

    Try our BRAIN TUNERand BRAIN TUNER TEA.

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    Q: I completed the Full Body Detox and started the BRAIN TUNER. Will it help with involuntary tremors of my hands, when I write? Or what do you recommend?

    A:

    ALL HERBS WILL WORK AND HELP YOU, BUT YOU JUST HAVE TO DO YOUR PART AND EAT HEALTHY: NO MEAT, NO DAIRY PRODUCTS, NO REFINED GRAINS AND STARCHES, ETC. AND THINK POSITIVE, DEVELOP A HEALTHY ATTITUDE, AND HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. BRAIN TUNER , CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM FORMULA, AND Nerves Formula IS WHAT YOU NEED TO HELP YOUR WITH YOUR PROBLEM.

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    Q: The problem is the nerves from my brain to my ears. They are clogged. And as a result the sound doesnt reach from my ears to my brian.

    A:

    Unfortunately, I never heard of this issue. I would suggest ear candling or coning and working on your nerves, (taking Nerves Formula [3 capsules daily] and Nerves Tea [1 cup nightly], and CNS Formula [3 capsules daily]). I'll have to research more into this condition. But there is always something you can do. Peace and Love!

    Product Links:
    Nerves Formula
    Nerves Tea
    Central Nervous System Formula

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    Q: My father has a spot on his brain and I am wondering if that tea with the gingoba leaf in it will that help him.

    A:

    Of course it will HELP, but more most be done on your father's part. No herbal formula is your solution or cure. The work you do and the thoughts you think are what gets you cured. Always remember this!