Exercise and daily movement are often associated with physical effects, body composition, and body fat. While these are all great reasons to maintain a regular exercise schedule, exercise offers so many other benefits for your body. Exercise uniquely impacts the brain’s ability to problem-solve, learn, and enhance memory. 

Not only can exercise improve your brain’s cognitive skills, but research suggests regular movement can also help improve your sleep quality and regulate your mood. Beyond these direct effects of movement on your brain, many indirect benefits can also occur as a result of the benefits exercise has on your body. For example, improved mood and sleep from exercise can help manage stress and anxiety, leading to a cascade of other health benefits. 

Exercise for Brain Health

Research suggests that parts of the brain responsible for thinking and memory, known as the prefrontal and medial temporal cortex, may also be impacted by exercise. Studies found that these areas of the brain are actually larger in those who exercise regularly when compared to individuals who are sedentary. This exciting research suggests that exercise can help the brain form new connections, staying active and healthy.

Nutrition and supplements are other important components of supporting your brain, alongside exercise. In fact, exercise may even hold a greater weight when it comes to supporting a healthy brain than a heart-healthy diet. A research study found that after six months, individuals who exercised regularly (3 times a week for 45 minutes per session) had improved cognitive function, whereas a group that consumed a heart-healthy diet with no exercise did not.

For biohackers concerned with neurodegenerative and age-related diseases, regular exercise is an important tool to incorporate. Some studies suggest a strong correlation between regular movement and decreased cognitive decline.

Not only can regular movement help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline, but it also may help support an improved mood. You may have heard of a substance known as endorphins, a neurotransmitter responsible for sending signals throughout the body’s nervous system. When a person exercises, endorphins are released which can increase feelings of pleasure and sometimes even a calm and euphoric state post-exercise. Some athletes have coined this feeling “runner’s high”.

Developing Exercise Habits

Making regular movement a part of your lifestyle can take some time. For those who have not exercised regularly in the past, it may take time to form new habits that stick. Finding an exercise you enjoy can also make it easier to get daily movement in. Below, explore some tips and tricks to help use exercise to boost your brain function.

Try Dancing

Dancing is a fun and cost-free way to get cardiovascular activity in. Put your favorite music on and dance!

Exercise with a Buddy

Exercising with a buddy can help the time pass faster and motivate you to stay on a regular exercise plan. Walking and bike riding are great forms of movement to try with a friend.

Two plus size women going for a walk together outside, talking and smiling.

Try Classes

Some people find that exercising on their own does not provide enough structure. For these individuals, group or class exercise sessions can offer a chance to interact with new people while getting movement in.

Develop a Routine

As you work to develop a new exercise routine, it may be helpful to work out at the same time every day. By adding movement into your calendar as a “non-negotiable” it becomes a part of your lifestyle as opposed to a choice.

Try New Types of Exercise

Supporting your brain health with exercise can look very different from person to person. Whether it’s walking, jogging, running, swimming, or any other form of exercise, it’s important to look for something YOU love to encourage you to move daily.

Pair Exercise with Other Brain Boosters

All in all, there’s no question that movement is a great way to help support your brain health, helping to enhance cognitive function, improve mood, and decrease the risk of cognitive impairment. When combined with other brain-boosting biohacking techniques, you can set your mind up for the greatest success both in the short term and long term.