Can Exercise Make You Smarter, Overcome Depression?

Do you know that exercise boosts brain growth and regeneration? Hasn’t it occurred to you that exercise or being physically active can literally improve your memory and thinking skills? If you want to alter the brain fog that comes with age, make it a point to sweat it out every day starting today. Several studies suggest that regular exercises can actually make you smarter, but not any kind of exercises. Researchers found that regular aerobic exercises appear to boost the size of the hippocampus, which is the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.


If you were wondering how much exercise is required to improve memory, you may be surprised that brisk walking an hour for twice a week, was all what the participants of the study did. That would be about 120 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week.


Other moderate intensity exercises are swimming, stair climbing, tennis, squash or dancing. Household activities count as well, such as floor mopping, raking leaves, or anything that gets your heart pumping.


New studies found that exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5. This protein is being released into the bloodstream while you are sweating working out. If you want to make yourself smarter, go out for a run!


In particular, your memory and ability to learn get a boost from hitting the pavement, such as the jogging endurance exercise. Exercise, especially the endurance exercise, is known to have beneficial effects on the brain health and cognitive function.



Exercise can make you grow new brain cells. The science of neurogenesis suggests it is possible to create neurons that can improve your memory and thinking skills.


The benefits can be potentially captured in a pill and given to patients experiencing cognitive decline, which may include those who are already in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.




At the prime of your life, means old age, though the brain still produces about 700 neurons in the hippocampus per day, that may not seem like much. If you can increase that number through neurogenesis, you can definitely restore key brain functions.


The neurogenesis makes it possible for new neurons to develop in the hippocampus, which is the brain region responsible for learning information, storing long term memories and regulating emotions.


Research has found that an aerobic exercise or any endurance training like jogging generates more neurons than performing a resistance training. Sustained moderate intensity aerobic exercise like jogging, power walking, swimming or similar activity might create an even greater response.


Exercise promotes a process called neurogenesis regardless of age. It is one of the secret weapon to overcome depression. Exercising your muscles actually rids your body of the stress chemicals that can lead to depression.


One of the ways exercise promotes mental health is by normalizing insulin resistance and boosting the natural feel good hormones and neurotransmitters associated with mood control, including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, and GABA.


Exercise prevents age related shrinkage of your brain, preserves both gray and white matter in your frontal, temporal, and parietal cortexes, which helps prevent cognitive deterioration. Exercise can help keep you sharp well into old age.


It is highly recommended to avoid sitting as much as possible and walk as much as 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day. You do not have to lose your mind with advancing age.


Exercise is the most potent way to ensure your brain’s continued growth and rejuvenation. Your brain has the capacity to regenerate and grow throughout the entire human lifespan, and exercise can ensure its continued growth and rejuvenation.




Dr. Mercola (2015). The remarkable effects of exercise on cognition and brain cell regeneration.

DiSalvo, D. (2013). How exercise makes your brain grow. Forbes.

Wrann, C. D., White, J. P., Salogiannnis, J., et. al. (2013). Cell Metabolism. 18(5), pp. 649-659.



Workouts need not be extreme. A 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking, three times a week, can help fend off the mental wear and tear as well as delay the onset of dementia. It pays to get used to regular exercise early, because the protective effects are clearest before the cognitive signs of old age kick in.


Sitting all day, every day, is dangerous. Find something you enjoy, then get up and do it right. Go for a walk or a little jog.


Physical exercise triggers several molecular and cellular cascades that support brain plasticity, leading to an improved cognitive capacity of the aging brain. Exercise is essential for a healthy brain!

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