Exercise Helps You Regenerate Brain Cells!

The Cell Transplantation Journal recently published a study that shows that brain cells do in fact regrow! Despite past claims (mostly up to the 60's), researchers in Hong Kong have found that brain cell regeneration does happen, and it plays a key part in reducing stress. They're also found that exercise is the key factor in brain cell regeneration (neurogenesis) - in fact, it activates the process.

Dr Kwok-Fai from Hong Kong said "Research has shown that exercise can improve mood and cognition and has also demonstrated that a deficit in adult neurogenesis may result in depressive disorders." His team's research  looked at exercise as a means of combating stress and the idea that exercise promotes neurogenesis.

The effect of stress and depression on the brain is astounding; in severe cases, it impacts part of the brain called the hippocampus (part of the brain that is involved in memory and emotional regulation). It can actually go as far as shrinking that part of the brain, eliminating the possibility of brain cell regeneration.

Regular exercise helps the hippocampus  mend damaged brain cells and grow neurons by maintaining 'plasticity' - the new neurons tend to enhance mood, maternal behaviour and reproductive function. 

This study reinforces the message that exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle - both physically, and mentally.

Thanks to Liz Henry for the image.

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