How does exercise impact mental health?


Exercise has several benefits for brain health and mental function, as explained by across various episodes of the . Here are some key points:

  • Physical exercise helps to maintain the health of existing neurons, can improve blood flow to the brain, and supports the brain's metabolic demands 1.
  • Both resistance training and endurance training are essential as they release different hormones, like osteocalcin from bones, which positively affect brain function 1.
  • Exercise supports immediate and long-term brain health and function. It's beneficial for organ health as well, which is interconnected with mental health 2.
  • Different forms of exercise have been associated with mental benefits like improved focus and cognitive function 3.

    Exercise and Brain Health

    Andrew discusses the benefits of exercise for brain health, including increased blood flow and the release of hormones that support existing neurons. While exercise may not necessarily increase the number of neurons, it has been shown to have numerous positive effects on brain function and overall health.

    Huberman Lab

    Maximizing Productivity, Physical & Mental Health with Daily Tools | Huberman Lab Podcast #28
  • Intense or long bouts of exercise can cause brain fog or mental fatigue, likely due to effects on brain temperature and cognition 4.
  • Structured writing exercises have been found to improve physical and mental health, including ameliorating symptoms of depression and stress disorders 5.
  • Cardiovascular exercise, in particular, is linked to an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is crucial for brain health and plasticity 6.
  • Regular cardiovascular exercise might lead to dentate gyrus neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is important for forming new memories 7.

Overall, consistent exercise can contribute to enhanced cognitive abilities, better mental health, and general well-being.