Does Exercise make your Brain Function Better?

Body joyous

Free and fit

Many people don’t realize that the brain is no different from the muscles in their body. It profits from physical exercise and movement.
This gets its cells stimulated, and the exchange of energy and waste discharge happen a lot faster. But does exercise make your brain function better?

It’s been officially proven that sport and movement such as aerobics, running, stretching, even activities like dancing and taking long, brisk walks improves the quickness and performance of the human brain.

Working out in the gym, going on a hiking excursion ( doesn’t have to be mountain climbing) or swimming a few laps at the local pool, these are tangible investments against the dormancy damages the brain may develop as we progress in age….

It’s been found that even twenty minutes of exercise can markedly improve the travel of information and memory accessibility in the brain.

This happens in different ways:

Our heart pumps faster, enabling more oxygen to reach the brain.
More hormones of the body are freed up, and each and every one of them plays an important role in feeding and helping cells develop and grow.

Energy rebound

Oxy-energy surge

The brain has a plasticity, which enables connective growth in the space between these cells.
It’s been discovered that exercise causes the stimulation of growth mass in individual areas, just like performing music, playing games like chess or solving difficult puzzles is known to do.
New connections between neurons are built up, in regions of the brain that are frequently and regularly used.

Runners often experience a stimulating high, after being in a certain rhythm of pace for a lengthier time. Many of them know about this, and are feeling joy and release, where we might see only tedious exertion.

This is an anti-depressive effect, which shows something amazing:
In the part of the brain called the hippocampus, something pretty astounding is taking place – more growth activity of the cells, in exactly the area responsible for memory and learning functions!


Which is more advantageous, physical exercise, mental stimulation, or a combination of both?

Certain forms of activity such as line dancing, partner dancing, figure skating to music and a variety of other such “combination” sports have been shown to have a greater effect on cognitive function as, for example, a game of chess, a Sudoku challenge, or, on the other hand,a physical, muscle-building workout geared for only building out body mass.


Fit for living

Tennis, anyone?

All things which exercise your heart rate are beneficial to your brain health. Aerobics, for instance, have even been known to help repair brain cells that have become injured or impaired.

It’s a great idea to exercise as early in the day as possible. This has a more marked effect in acquiring and storing information throughout the course of the whole day.

And it’s a great stress- reducer and resilience- builder against the quirks and challenges we encounter in our daily lives….the complex may suddenly be realized as being simpler than it appears…

In addition to the cardiovascular performance improvement, there is another area of interesting effectiveness…


Airborne harmony

Cross-body movement

These can involve rhythmic activities which have the additional participation of eyes and ears, such as dancing to music, court sports, table tennis or circuit workouts where you must constantly adjust your attention to something new.

There is also a direction in exercising involving cross-body movements such as the ones used in the Brain Gym Training.
In the upper body, your right arm is moved together with your left leg, or vice versa. This is movement which coordinates brain halves with each other, balances them out and harmonizes them through the corpus collosum, the central column of the brain.

There are whole systems of exercise involving these cross-body workouts, they are well worth checking into.

An important aspect for all of us in our daily routines, is creating the motivation we all need in order to exercise- that’s where the social aspect comes in…

Plan family outings such as cycling, mini-golf, jogging, square-dancing or whatever activity appeals to the group as a whole.

Join courses or clubs in your area, for example, a badminton or tennis club, a volleyball team, participate in baseball, football or skateboarding…

All water sports exercise the body ( and the brain) in a special way; being carried by the water and moving through it works in a different, but equally effective manner as other sport types.

As we see, motion is a necessary contributor to brain health. The quality of life is greatly increased, we feel better, perform better and live longer…
And it helps keep degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s at bay, reducing the risk of brain damage and memory loss.


In our daily lives we are so often indoors!  Office work, store jobs, being in the house….even indoor sports…..

We inhale oxygen, exhale CO2 and forget that the quality of the air we’re breathing decreases….

Tiredness is a classic symptom of an undersupply of oxygen. The bloodstream carries less of it, and body as well as brain become sluggish.  Energy for cellular digestive function becomes more scarce, and substances “hang around” longer, blocking the cells’ ability to dispose of substances that are no longer needed.

This can help create the breeding ground for the dreaded plaques, these inactive substance agglomerates that are responsible for so much brain degeneration in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


Even if you have a disability or are in reconvalescence, providing it’s medically allowable…

Our spirits are raised after excercising, which is the body’s way of saying:

“I’m being taken care of and kept active, that helps my health from head to toe…..”


4 Responses so far.

  1. Lynn Drew says:
    Hi Therese,
    This is another extraordinary post with so much valuable information in it. You have opened my eyes yet again! I always have known that exercise is crucial to good health but I never thought of it in terms of exercising my brain so to speak. After reading your blog it makes perfectly good sense. Now that I think about it, playing tennis or walking have always given me such a mental and physical lift. And to think we can help our brain function better by being and staying active.

    The partner sports vs the solitary sports is really interesting. Don’t you think we have just touched the surface in understanding the magnificent body God has created? Thank you for such enlightening words of encouragement and practical ways we can fight off Alzheimer’s! You are really giving us so much information and hope! I always look forward to coming back and learning more from you. Just a wonderful site!

    Many Blessings,

    • Therese says:
      Thank you for your visit, Lynn!

      Sometimes, the more intense physical activity can be the most rewarding to our health.

      We feel the exertion and wonder if we are really enjoying it when we start out…..
      But the heart’s health improves every time, and the brain is always a rider in that “car”.

      This alone works wonders for our health, stamina and mental alertness!

      We are wonderfully made, indeed!


  2. Nicki says:
    What a fantastic article!! I knew that exercise greatly improved bone density, metabolism, and cardiac functions, but I was not aware of the affects it had on your brain. It does make sense, though.

    I have a few relatives who suffer from Alzheimer’s (non-blood relatives though), and I will be sure to pass along this information to them to get them to start working out more.

    It’s also reassuring to me just how beneficial it is to workout and get moving. I don’t have any memory problems, but I also don’t want to develop any either. I’m also a big fan of running and going for hikes. While I do not enjoy going to a sweaty gym, I try to do some strength training at home a few times a week to keep my muscles toned.

    Thanks for all of this information. Great post!! 🙂


    • Therese says:
      Thanks for your visit, Nicki!

      So interesting that you mention muscle training, that’s in the focus of some new university group studies…

      Brain and muscle tissue both have the mass-gaining property when they’re used and exercized. And exercise allows for the development of both!
      This fascinating fact is also the basis for the application of mental games and puzzles therapy, to combat mass reduction problems of the brain, where dementia symptoms have started to appear.

      It will be interesting to see where research leads in this area!