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Sweat for Your Smarts: How Exercise Boosts Brainpower

Sweat for Your Smarts: How Exercise Boosts Brainpower

We all know exercise is good for our bodies, but did you know it's a superstar for our brains too? Regular physical activity is like a fertilizer for your thinking machine, promoting memory, attention, focus, cognition, and information processing and even reducing the risk of dementia.1,2,3,4 Physical activity has several benefits for the brain. Exercise offers both vascular (blood flow) and metabolic (cellular processes) benefits, underlining the complex methods by which it improves brain function.

Here's the science behind the sweat:
Metabolic Boost: Exercise functions as a stimulant for the growth and development of your brain cells. It enhances the synthesis of a protein known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which provides nourishment to brain cells and facilitates the generation of new ones.

Vascular Improvement: Exercise provides a vascular advantage by enhancing the function and flexibility of the cardiovascular system, leading to improved health and elasticity of blood vessels. This results in enhanced brain blood circulation, facilitating the transport of vital nutrients, oxygen, and the elimination of metabolic waste. Enhanced blood circulation also aids in the regulation of blood pressure, which is a vital determinant of brain health. This heightened cellular activity results in increased energy requirements, resulting in improved blood circulation and the transportation of oxygen to the brain. This supercharges their ability to function and communicate, keeping your memory sharp and thinking agile. Exercise also promotes the growth of new brain cells and strengthens existing connections, enhancing learning and problem-solving skills.,5,6,7

Enhanced Waste Disposal: Physical activity promotes the functioning of the brain's glymphatic system, which serves as a network for removing waste.8  During the sleep cycle, the brain undergoes a minor reduction in size, which facilitates the removal of harmful substances such as beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, through the cerebrospinal fluid. Engaging in regular physical activity enhances the efficiency of the glymphatic system, which may lower the likelihood of developing neurodegenerative disorders.

Exercise & Mental Wellbeing: A Synergistic Effect. The positive impact of exercise extends beyond brainpower. Physical activity is a well-established mood booster. This improved mental well-being further supports cognitive function. When we feel stressed or overwhelmed our ability to focus and think clearly diminishes. Exercise helps regulate stress hormones and promotes the production of mood-enhancing chemicals like endorphins. This creates a calmer, more positive mental state that can optimize cognitive performance.

Here's where supplements like Neuriva Original can come in:

  • Neuriva® contains key ingredients that target BDNF: one of its components, NeurofactorTM, a decaffeinated whole coffee cherry extract, has been clinically tested to boost levels of BDNF, which strengthens brain cell connections. Neuriva may offer additional support for the brain's natural ability to generate this critical neurotrophic factor.

  • Neuriva offers additional cognitive enhancers: In addition to BDNF support, Neuriva contains other ingredients like phosphatidylserine, which have been linked to improved cognitive function, memory and learning ability in some studies. It also has CogniviveTM which is an extract derived from the Alpinia galanga plant, which belongs to the ginger family.  Cognivive excels in its capacity to improve alertness, offering benefits that surpass a simple increase in energy and what is critical is that it does not use caffeine.

It's important to remember that exercise is likely the most significant factor for brain health, and a healthy diet and lifestyle are also crucial. Think of Neuriva  as a potential boost to this foundation with brain health benefits in improvement of learning, accuracy, memory, focus and concentration.9

What is the good news? You do not need to become a gym rat to gain the benefits. Incorporating exercise into your routine does not require drastic changes. The key is to find activities you enjoy and can realistically maintain. You can aim for at least 150 minutes a week or 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week. 10  Brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or dancing, are all great options that can have a significant impact. Remember, even small bursts of activity throughout the day are beneficial. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the door, or do some bodyweight exercises while watching television. Bonus points for getting outside - research indicates that exercising in nature delivers an additional cognitive boost. So lace up your sneakers, turn on your favorite playlist, and get moving! Your brain will thank you for it.

Think of your brain as a high-performing computer. Exercise acts as the essential software update, optimizing its processing power and functionality. By incorporating regular physical activity into your life, you are not just strengthening your body. You are nurturing a sharper, more resilient brain that can perform at its peak in the future.

References

  1. Zhang, M., Jia, J., Yang, Y., Zhang, L, & Wang, X (2023). Effects of exercise interventions on cognitive functions in healthy populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews. 2023 Dec:92, 102116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arr.2023.102116

  2. Liya Xu , Hongyi Gu , Xiaowan Cai, Yimin Zhang, Xiao Hou , et a. Yu. The Effects of Exercise for Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20, 1088. Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20021088 

  3. Erikson, K. I., Voss, M. W., Prakash, R. S., Chaddock-Cook, L., Kim, J. S., Wöstmann, F. C., & Kramer, A. F. (2011). Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory in older adults. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(7), 3017-3022. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015950108. Epub 2011 Jan 31.

  4. Larson, E. B., Shadlen, M. F., Wang, L., McCormick, W. C., Bowen, J. D., Teri, L.,  & Craft, S. (2006). Exercise is associated with reduced risk for incident dementia among persons 65 years of age and older. Annals of Internal Medicine, 144(2), 137-145. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-144-2-200601170-00004: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/0003-4819-144-2-200601170-00004

  5. Neuroscience News. (2023, August 22). Exercise and the Brain: The Neuroscience of Fitness Explored. Retrieved from https://neurosciencenews.com/fitness-neuroscience-23228/

  6. Cotman, C. W., Berchtold, N. C., & Christie, K. J. (2007). Exercise builds brain resilience: protection from depression and Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 28(12), 1717-1727.

  7. Voss, M. W., Prakash, R. S., Erickson, K. I., Voss, S. B., Chaddock, L., Taylor, C. B., ... & Kramer, A. F. (2013). Physical activity and brain plasticity in older adults: Randomized controlled trial. NeuroImage, 88(1), 86-95.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2947936/

  8. He, Xiao-fei et al. (2017). Voluntary ExercisePromotes Glymphatic Clearance of Amyloid Beta and Reduces the Activation of Astrocytes and Microglia in Aged Mice. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 10(144), doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2017.00144.

  9. Doma, K.M., Lewis, E.D., Barracato, J.M.et al. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Study Investigating the Efficacy of a Whole Coffee Cherry Extract and Phosphatidylserine Formulation on Cognitive Performance of Healthy Adults with Self-Perceived Memory Problems. Neurol Ther 12, 777–794 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40120-023-00454-z

  10. S.Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.https://health.gov/our-work/nutrition-physical-activity/physical-activity-guidelines/current-guidelines

 

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