The Mind-Altering Benefits of Exercise
March 14, 2006
Research indicates that exercise may encourage brains to work at optimum capacity, by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.
Benefits extend diseased and damaged nerves, which could result in new treatments for those with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or spinal cord injuries.
Lab tests on animals have shown that when they exercise, their nerve cells release proteins known as neurotrophic factors.
One in particular, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. Even simply adding BDNF to neurons in a lab causes them to grow, sprout branches, and extend them rapidly.BDNF has been shown to have direct benefits on brain functions, including learning and slowing or repairing neural illnesses.