5 Mind-Blowing Benefits of Exercise

U.S. News & World Report reveals five ways that exercise can enhance your brainpower and mood:

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1.It reverses the detrimental effects of stress. Exercise boosts levels of soothing brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on your aging process.

2.It lifts depression. Sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.

3.It improves learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors that help make new brain cells.

4.It builds self-esteem and improves body image. Even simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

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5.It leaves you feeling euphoric. High-intensity exercise can leave you with a feeling of euphoria. Try running, biking, or swimming as fast as you can for 30 to 40 seconds and then reduce your speed to a gentle pace for five minutes before sprinting again.

Further, a new study by researchers at Northwestern University‘s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago have revealed impressive insights into why exercise is so good for your brain. In short, it appears that exercise lowers the activity of bone-morphogenetic protein or BMP, which slows the production of new brain cells.

At the same time, exercise increases Noggin, a brain protein that acts as a BMP antagonist.

According to NYTimes.com:

“The more Noggin in your brain, the less BMP activity exists and the more stem cell divisions and neurogenesis [production of new brain cells] you experience.”

Resources:
U.S. News & World Report June 30, 2010
NYTimes.com July 7, 2010

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