Andy’s Quick Hits (102): All the Good Things Exercise does to the Brain

Andy Hab
3 min readOct 13, 2021

We should all know that exercise is good for you. But many people still see it as something that is merely healthy without understanding precisely why. We also fail to understand how it is not just about the body but just as much about the brain. In fact, exercise is one key way to keep healthy brains — and that also means high-performing brains and a brain that can grow and keep learning.

Let’s review

Let’s start off with kids. We know kids are active but what you may not know is just how important and how long you can see this. Simply put, you can see the effects into adulthood as I reported here. The research I report on shows that kids who are more active have brains that are:

  • More efficiently organised
  • More robust
  • Have more flexible networks

And another study showed that the effects into the brain can be seen into adulthood. Specifically:

  • People who are physically active during childhood (up to 12 years of age) have higher cognitive functions in later life.
  • The positive association between childhood exercise and cognitive function could be seen in the modular segregation of brain networks, strengthened inter-hemispheric connectivity, greater cortical thickness, lower levels of dendritic arborisation and decreased density.

If you don’t understand all of that, it means you have a better and more densely connected, and a higher functioning, brain into adulthood.

Exercise in adulthood and the brain

I’ve written about the surprisingly large benefits of walking— which is just low level exercise here:

Indeed these benefits apply to any exercise which include increased plasticity (brain growth), better mood, and less depression as I reported here. Not only that but recent work also saw long-term changes in memory and cognitive markers…

Andy Hab

Sharing fascinating, fun, and important knowledge on the brain and human behaviour - most days. And masters track athlete - still going strong!