Exercise like your brain depends on it. Because it does.

I’ve written before about exercise and the immune system, and I often talk about movement and its importance when working with clients, but I still feel like exercise is somehow easily brushed aside. But did you know that exercise is essential for brain growth? 

Exercise grows your brain

There is a neurotrophic factor that increases when we exercise – it’s called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF for short). BDNF is essentially a growth hormone for the brain, it helps grow new neurons and increases neuronal connections. What does this mean? According to Ayesha Sherzai, a wonderful neurologist at Loma Linda University, brain connections determine speed of processing in the brain as well as the brain’s strength and resilience against disease. Isn’t that something we could all benefit from? 

Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise, and this disease shows up with its heart wrenching symptoms many years after destruction in the brain has already begun. Part of a preventative approach is incorporating exercise into your daily life, producing BDNF to both protect your brain and strengthen connections within the brain. The more connections, the more resilient the brain can be, even when connections are damaged or destroyed. It doesn’t take a special pill or drug to do this! This should be incredibly empowering news!

Does the idea of increasing BDNF provide a little more incentive to exercise?

Think of this as you exercise – it’s like you’re sprinkling miracle grow on the garden of your brain as you move your body! Isn’t that worth the effort?

Many of us find that it’s easy to drop this out of our schedules when life gets full. I’m totally with you – it’s hard to fit exercise in and sometimes it will disappear from my life for a little while. But. And this is a big BUT, I always always feel better when I bring it back in. I always find a way to return to some form of movement.


Because nothing else can do what exercise does for my brain, my mood, my muscles and my mindset. 

Many doctors have said, if exercise could be marketed as a drug it would be a blockbuster, best selling drug! This should be mind blowing! If we treated exercise like eating or drinking – as something that we plan for and make happen – we could all reap the immense benefits of moving our bodies. 

Here are a few of the benefits we receive from exercise:

  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Better blood sugar balance
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved immune function
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased blood flow
  • Increased oxygen circulation
  • Better brain function
  • Improved gut health

Ummmm, that’s amazing! Imagine what this could mean for your life!

The BEST exercise

You might be wondering, what’s the best exercise? Well, it’s the exercise that you’ll actually do! Find something that you enjoy and do that. It’s also key not to underestimate the movement that happens when we aren’t focused on exercise – things like doing household chores, playing with our kids or pets, taking the stairs, walking to the store, walking to get the mail, etc. All of this movement adds up, and when we are able to incorporate movement throughout the entire day it is especially beneficial. 

Hopefully you are encouraged to keep moving your body or to start moving your body more regularly! 

If you feel like you could use some personalized help moving forward, start by checking out my free guide – “5 Easy Ways to Increase Energy”. Or if you would like to connect with me, book a free call here – I’m always happy to chat about ways to increase your energy and figure out what might be holding you back. 


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