Opening Up To Dr. YOU

You must be well aware of the physical health benefits of regular exercise. It strengthens the heart, prevents diabetes, lowers cholesterol levels, improves digestion, strengthens bones and muscles, and enhances the overall fitness of the body.

But did you know that physical exercise directly impacts your brain health too?

That rush of happiness after your gym session and a sense of calmness after your regular walk is not only a result of psychological satisfaction but also of the tangible changes happening in your brain.

You may have had this question:

How does physical activity affect your brain health?

Well, there’s a science behind how a regular physical activity routine induces chemical and structural changes in your brain, which immediately uplift your mood and gradually strengthens your brain with time.


Dr. YOU is here to explain some of the positive changes that happen in your brain as you exercise.

1. Mental Wellness

Physical exercise stimulates the release of feel-good hormones like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine that regulate your mental health in the following ways:

  • All the three happy hormones provide relief from anxiety and stress.
  • Endorphins can relieve pain and induce calmness.
  • Serotonin stabilizes mood and sleep. It also helps prevent depression.
  • Dopamine mediates feelings of pleasure and motivation in the brain.

Scientific studies have established that regular physical exercise can significantly improve symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) like short attention span, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

2. Mental Focus/Concentration

Aerobic exercise increases the heart rate and leads to faster pumping of blood. This results in better blood circulation, which provides oxygen to the brain tissues. This refreshes the mind and allows you to think clearly by improving your focus and concentration. It leads to organized thinking, proper planning, and prioritization of the tasks, which enable better decision-making abilities and aptitude.

3. Memory and Learning

Exercise improves cognitive abilities like thinking, reasoning, memory, comprehension, judgement, and problem-solving. This happens because physical activity produces a protein called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) that promotes the growth of brain cells in specific brain areas like the hippocampus (embedded deep in the middle region of the brain) and prefrontal cortex (front part of the brain). Both these regions play important roles in memory and learning.

4. Brain Plasticity

Regular exercise can also help prevent neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease by preventing inflammation in the brain. So, it helps prevent dementia as a person gets older. It also stimulates brain plasticity (a natural mechanism which involves the formation of new connections between brain cells by learning, experience, and memory formation). Regular exercise ensures continuous development of the brain throughout your lifetime and also prevents cognitive decline associated with ageing.

5. Creativity and Language-learning

Regular low-intensity exercises like walking and yoga stretches enhance a divergent thinking process, which helps generate creative ideas and boost imagination. So, it helps the mind’s ability to discover innovative methods to perform tasks and find new solutions to a problem. Creative thinking also helps in linking new information with past experiences, which helps in learning a new language. Language-learning is also facilitated by the growth of new brain cells and the connections between them in the hippocampus area of the brain.

The benefits of regular physical activity are plenty, and these five positive impacts of exercise on your brain are amazing reasons to get you up and moving! But if you still struggle to find the motivation to exercise, check out our infographic for tips to overcome your top excuses for not exercising.

Remember, the only person who can keep YOU the healthiest is YOU!

DISCLAIMER: Dr. YOU aims to bring you the latest evidence-based science, and our content is for informational purposes only. The content is not medical advice or guarantee of an outcome. You should always consult a doctor or qualified healthcare professional if you need further clarification and before making any changes to your treatment plans and lifestyle, or that of others.

Dr. YOU is a one-stop platform to address the health information needs of health consumers. Our goal is to arm people with the information necessary to make meaningful decisions regarding their health and nudge behaviour change.

With our combined experience of two decades in research and healthcare, we built the Dr. YOU platform around the WHO-endorsed “Best Buy” intervention design for preventing and managing chronic diseases.

Follow us on Medium (@drYOUofficial) and Instagram (@dr.YOU_official) for the latest content and updates.




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