The benefits your body experiences due to exercise are well known. From joint lubrication to muscle growth to burning of fat, exercise can do a lot of good for your body and your general well-being. How often do you think about what exercise can do for your brain, though? From boosting memory to fighting mental health issues, exercise can help the brain in so many ways. Here are just a few of the ways exercise helps brain health.

Fights Depression – Working out causes the body to produce more serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals in your brain that are used when experiencing joy. These chemicals help combat depression or anxiety, among other things.

Improves Blood Flow – Improving blood flow sends more oxygen and glucose to your brain while pulling away waste chemicals. In turn, this helps overall blood flow of the body and reduces inflammation, as the brain is often the trigger for inflammation.

Boosts Memory – The more you work out, the more your brain produces brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to stimulate growth of brain cells. This is particularly true in the region of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus.

Builds Brain Cells – As physical exercise helps to stimulate the production of BDNF for the production of new brain cells focused on memory, it also helps to produce new cells that can affect learning.

Fights Disease – As exercise helps produce more brain cells and neural connections, the brain can, in turn, better prevent the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Boosts Mood – Endorphins are released when your body works out. These feel-good chemicals help improve your day-to-day mood, which benefits overall mental health.

Regular exercise not only improves your mood but helps the brain in so many other ways, potentially fighting off disease and other ailments. As with any activity intended to improve your physical or mental well-being, it’s best to consult a doctor before beginning any sort of routine. What are some ways you’ve seen exercise improve your memory or mood or responsiveness? Share with us in the comments below.