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Boost Your Brain with Exercise

By |2024-07-08T12:27:51-04:00July 8th, 2024|Categories: Health A-Z, Neuroscience|Tags: , |

Exercise is good for your body, but did you know that those benefits also extend to your brain?

“Exercise improves the function of your cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, skeletal and nervous systems, all of which support your brain’s health and ability to do its job,” says CentraState neurosurgeon Mark McLaughlin, MD. “But exercise can also directly affect and even change your brain.”

From maximizing memory to harnessing happiness, Dr. McLaughlin highlights three key ways breaking a sweat positively impacts your brain.

3 Powerful Brain Benefits of Exercise

  1. Exercise feeds the brain by increasing blood flow and promoting the growth of new blood vessels. This ensures the steady delivery of oxygen, energy and nutrients the brain requires to stay healthy and perform its many functions.
  2. It improves cognition by producing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that protects, repairs and supports the growth of brain neurons (brain cells) vital to learning, memory and higher thinking.
  3. It also creates “feel-good” hormones like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and endocannabinoids (similar to cannabis but naturally produced in the body). These chemical messengers act on the nervous system to increase focus, boost mood, reduce pain, buffer stress and even fuel a feeling of euphoria, which can happen during intense or lengthy cardiovascular exercise.

Whether hiking, biking or playing a sport, exercise is a smart way to bolster your body and brain. Get moving and bask in the benefits!


No matter where you are on your fitness journey, CentraState offers an option for you. Learn more about movement programs offered by our health coaches at the Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center or at the CentraState Fitness & Wellness Center.

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