Body Hack: Exercise and Your Brain

BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, is a protein that plays an important role in promoting brain health and cognitive function. Research has shown that regular exercise and physical activity can boost the expression of bdnf gene levels in the brain, leading to a wide range of mental and physical healing benefits.


It was once thought that physical activity had no direct impact on cognitive performance, but now science reveals that they are very much connected. Exercise and movement are consistently linked with improved mood, reduced stress levels, increased energy, enhanced cognitive function, and better sleep quality. These benefits can be attributed to BDNF – an important factor that promotes neuroplasticity in the brain. This means that exercise increases our ability to adjust to new stressors, adapt to our environment, improve our responses to stress, and improve self-awareness. It is assumed that because exercise and cognitive health go hand in hand, this was an ingrained survival mechanism, especially since BDNF promotes enhanced awareness of our surroundings and potential threats.


BDNF is also associated with neurogenesis, revealing that exercise and movement protect us from memory loss and cognitive decline. With exercise and enhanced bdnf gene expression, hippocampal activity is increased, which is critical for learning and memory consolidation. There are genetic pathways downstream of bdnf expression, revealing that certain learning and memory capacities are dependent on exercise alone.


Often, people are encouraged to exercise as a therapeutic tool to combat mood disorders and low mood in general. Therefore, it is no surprise that In many psychiatric diseases, mood disorders, clinical depression, and neurodegenerative diseases, BDNF levels are significantly decreased. This should further encourage us to take advantage of a free tool, and move our bodies in order to protect our brain and mental health!


Overall, it is clear that exercise plays a crucial role in promoting brain health and cognitive function. Whether you are looking to boost your mood, learn new things quickly and effectively, or reduce the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help support BDNF levels in the brain and improve your overall well-being. So lace up those running shoes, hit the gym, or take a walk outside – just be sure to move your body every day for optimal brain health!





Sleiman, Sama F, et al. “Exercise Promotes the Expression of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) through the Action of the Ketone Body β-Hydroxybutyrate.” ELife, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2 June 2016,







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