AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

What CAN’T Exercise Do?!

As I’m sure you’re all well aware, exercise makes you stronger. This is because exercise increases the amount of muscle mitochondria and basically the more mitochondria you have in your muscle cells, the more durable and fatigue-resistant (strong) your muscles are.

Credit: PictureYouth Flickr

Well guess what? You’re brain is a muscle too.

Studies show that brain cells are also fueled by mitochondria, and therefore also get stronger through working out. This is because “the brain has to work hard to keep the muscles moving” (J. Mark Davis, University of South Carolina Professor).

J. Mark Davis and his fellow scientists at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina conducted a test with mice for 8 weeks to figure out how this actually works. There was one group of mice that exercised every day, and one group that just lounged around. At the end of 8 weeks, the group that exercised performed extremely well on an endurance test and had a huge surge of “newborn mitochondria” in their brain cells. Of course no improvement was seen for the lounging mice, because they were lazy and didn’t exercise!

This is extremely good news, especially for neurologists studying Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, which are believed to be caused by mitochondria deficiencies in human brain cells.

Credit: Jules.K. Flickr

But the benefits don’t stop there! By working out, you are decreasing bodily or mental fatigue. That’s why the more you work out, the longer you can spend working out. Also, by decreasing mental fatigue, you’re making your brain sharper.

So the next time you stay up all night studying for your AP Bio test, don’t forget to take a casual 30-minute jog or just do some yoga. It will really help (plus it’s always good to take a break from studying)!

For more information about the benefits of exercise, please visit the following site.

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  1. sweetasglucose

    Wow! Exercise does leave a huge impact on peoples lives. I learned from your article that working out can make me smarter, but did YOU know that working out also relieves depression and anxiety? This is a complete shocker to me because I NEVER want to go on a run or lift some weights when I’m in a bad mood. However, according to MAYO cite exercising may even calm me. I know sounds unbelievable. Here is a link to learn more about the exercise makes humans happy:

  2. nicleus2

    I can really relate to this article, because I have noticed that whenever I work out after school, I have an easier time focusing and feel refreshed to do homework. After reading this, I decided to do a little research of my own on how exercise can effect your brain in a positive way by making it stronger. It focuses mainly on the effects exercise has on your nervous system and on depression. Check it out:

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