Exercise to Make Your Brain Grow
Exercise is known to have many benefits from helping you to lose weight to boosting your mood and helping to fight an array of diseases.
Exercise, especially endurance exercise, is known to have beneficial effects on brain health and cognitive function
Research published in the Journal of Cell Metabolism has been able to show that the benefits of exercise go even further. (Wrann et al., 2013)
Recently, our group identified a PGC-1α-dependent myokine, FNDC5, that is cleaved and secreted from muscle during exercise and induces some major metabolic benefits of exercise
The research suggests that not only can exercise help to grow new brain cells but that eventually it may be possible to ‘bottle’ the benefit in order to prescribe it as a medicine.
The researchers who studied mice were able to show that the hippocampus – an area of the brain linked to learning and memory was particularly responsive to new neuron growth when endurance exercise was undertaken.
The exercise was shown to stimulate a protein called FNDC5 that is released into the bloodstream during heavy exercise. The FNDC5 protein is known to stimulate other proteins which in turn stimulate the formation of new nerves and synapses.
While this research could be considered to be at an early stage as it is currently considering mice, it has nonetheless presented an interesting link between endurance exercise and new neuron growth in the brain.
While human generalisation may be difficult, significant existing evidence shows us the benefits of nearly all forms of exercise.