Exercise Floods Your Brain With an Intelligence-Boosting Elixir

Exercise Floods Your Brain With an Intelligence-Boosting Elixir

Exercise floods your brain with molecules that help you think better

This is the last of the four articles I will be writing in my “Exercise Boosts Your Brainpower” foundational series. These foundational articles are for those of you who want to understand why exercise boosts brainpower. The other three articles about Vascularization, Neurogenesis and Cell Power described how exercise increases the density of blood vessels in your brain, increases the number of new brain cells you make every day, and increases the amount of power each brain cell has, respectively. If you haven’t read them, I would highly recommend you do because understanding why exercise boosts your brainpower always improves motivation for wanting to exercise. I will still be writing more articles about exercise and the brain, including articles about actual scientific studies and what kind of exercise you should do, but these four foundational articles will help you understand the why behind exercise.

Continue reading…

Want 200% More Brain Cells? Try Exercising.

Want 200% More Brain Cells? Try Exercising.

Exercise helps you make more brain cells
Old Dog New Tricks
In the article about exercise improving your cardiovascular system I told you that thousands of your brain cells die every day because they don’t the get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay alive. What I haven’t told you is that your brain can potentially make thousands of new neurons every day, a process called neurogenesis, to replace the ones that die. I’ll bet you didn’t know that your brain makes thousands of new brain cells every day throughout your entire life. It’s true! Way back in 1962 an MIT scientist named Joseph Altman published this truly groundbreaking article in the journal Science showing what he believed be newly-formed neurons in adult rats. Until that point it was assumed that new neurons were only made in the early stages of a young mammal’s life. However, his work wasn’t looked at too seriously at the time, and it took until the 1990s before scientists really began looking into this area of research again. Since then Altman’s work has been shown to be completely true – even eldery adult mammals produce new neurons every day1! And these newly-formed neurons migrate and are incorporated into different areas of your existing network of brain cells. So the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” can finally be laid to rest because it’s a bunch of hogwash. The only catch is that not all of these new neurons survive. In fact, the majority of them die within the first week. But, there is something you can do to increase the number of new neurons being produced by your brain and also keep them alive. You guessed it – exercise! Let me tell you a story about some mice:

Continue reading…