Do you remember the commercial where they showed an egg and said, “This is your brain” and then cracked the egg into a frying pan and said, “This is your brain on drugs.”
Did you know there’s a natural “drug” that has been proven to improve brain health, and that it’s released after we exercise?
That’s right, exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your brain, too.
The powerful “drug” is really just a cocktail of antioxidants known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. That’s a mouthful, so we’ll just call it BDNF.
Studies have shown that BDNF plays an important role in stimulating the growth of new neurons and repairing damaged ones. It’s most effective in the regions of the brain responsible for learning, memory, mood and higher-level thinking.
But aging, stress and lack of sleep cause our body’s production of BDNF to plummet. Studies have even shown a link between lower BDNF levels, depression and accelerated aging.
Just another reason to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Exercise, especially strength training and short bursts of high-intensity conditioning, have been shown to increase the body’s production of BDNF.
I could list all the scientific studies, but let me ask you a question instead.
Have you ever showed up at the gym all foggy and groggy, and by the time the workout is over, you’re feeling sharp and energized?
That’s partially due to the release of adrenaline, endorphins and dopamine. But it’s also the body increasing production of BDNF.
So the next time you’re feeling a little down and out, low-energy, or foggy, try a quick bout of exercise. It doesn’t have to be a marathon. Your body, and your brain, will thank you later.