Can Exercise Strengthen Your Brain?

A new study out of the University of South Carolina suggests that it can!

The study looked at two sets of mice: one set exercised (on tiny, adorable treadmills!) for an hour each day, while the other set was sedentary. At the end of the experiment, the researchers had both sets of mice do one treadmill “run to exhaustion,” and then looked at the state of their brain cells.

What the scientists found was that the brain cells of the active mice had “newborn mitochondria” in their brain cells.

So, what does that mean?

Mitochondria are tiny organelles within a cell that provide it with energy, so more mitochondria implies better brain function. In fact, people with a mitochondria deficit in their brain tissue are more likely to develop neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Tara Parker-Pope at the New York Times also spoke to exercise expert Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky who pointed to studies showing that “long-term runners have a lower risk of neurological disease.”

Of course, mouse brains are a little bit different from human brains, so there needs to be more study before anyone can draw a solid conclusion. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to make time for exercise in your daily routine! It might just make you smarter, and it will definitely give you more energy and even help relieve stress in the meantime.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by mikebaird

Source: New York Times

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Karen K.
Karen K3 years ago

I think exercise helps, but it's good to do many things, such as using the brain with reading, puzzles, languages etc. That being said, I do know a young person who has Parkinsons and has always been good about running and exercising. Sometimes the cards or genes or environment can get the better of someone.

Dt Nc
Dt Nc3 years ago

Thanks, have known that exercise, especially aerobic, helps your brain. Actually, I use exercise to relieve a very stressful life, but good to know I am improving the brain and other organs as well.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

thanks for sharing

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

Body and brain power are interrelated

Aud Nordby
Aud n5 years ago


Jennifer U.
Jennifer A5 years ago

Mice are different from humans but they are at least mammals. And in all honesty, I feel like my body and my brain works better for a while after exercising.

MGreat Kanth
Past Member 5 years ago

got it ....

Caitlin F.
Caitlin F5 years ago

I believe it!

Atocha B.
Mary F5 years ago

If you choose to exercise, it seems to me, you already become smarter!