Archive for the tag - mitochondria

Does Exercise Make You Smarter?

Nerd Alert: New research explains how exercise may boost brain performance.

We all know that exercise improves muscle performance, but how does it impact your brain? A new body of research published in American Journal of Physiology explores the question.

It’s no secret that regular exercise increases the number of organelles called mitochondria in muscle cells. Since these mitochondria create energy, an increase in their quantity can help explain increases in strength and endurance. But according to new research, the increase in mitochondria isn’t just limited to muscle cells. Data suggests that regular exercise also increases the number of mitochondria in brain cells.

Researchers divided mice into two groups. One group exercised one hour per day on an incline treadmill (sounds like the next viral YouTube video), six days a week. The other group was sedentary, and remained caged during the exercise hour. Otherwise, the mice experienced identical conditions.

Not surprisingly, the fit mice showed increased mitochondria in their muscle cells. But quite surprisingly, the fit mice also showed “several positive markers of mitochondria increase in the brain.”

If these findings apply to humans, researchers speculate that increased mitochondria in brains cells may boost exercise performance by reducing brain fatigue. But it also means that exercise could become an effective treatment for psychiatric disorders, genetic disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.

According to the study’s authors:

These findings could lead to the enhancement of athletic performance through reduced mental and physical fatigue, as well as to the expanded use of exercise as a therapeutic option to attenuate the negative effects of aging, and the treatment and/or prevention of neurological diseases.

In short, it’s yet another reason to get off your butt and give your body the gift of movement.