Your brain loves the gym – here's why

4 min read
October 20, 2022

While it may be hard at times to find the motivation to work out, moving your body daily will not only improve your mood and your day in the short term– it also leads to many long-term health benefits.

Research has shown that regular exercise can leave a lasting impact on your brain health.

A single workout increases neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), and dopamine. These mood boosters can also improve your memory and focus for up to three hours afterward.

Wendy Suzuki Ph.D., a neuroscientist at New York University says, "Exercising to increase your fitness literally builds brand new brain cells. It changes your brain’s anatomy, physiology, and function,” she explains. “Every time you work out, you are giving your brain a neurochemical bubble bath, and these regular bubble baths can also help protect your brain in the long term from conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

Working out doesn't have to be inside a gym – a brisk outdoor walk, soccer game, etc., can reap the same benefits.

See below for more information on the chemicals that explain why your brain loves working out!

  1. Serotonin: When exercising, you get a release in serotonin, which enhances your mood
  2. Norepinephrine: Working out gives you a release in Norepinephrine, a hormone that improves attention, perceptions, and motivation
  3. BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor): When exercising, you get a release in BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which repairs and protects neurons from injury, and help with learning and memory
  4. Dopamine: When exercising you get a release in dopamine, improving further motivation, focus, and learning
Sources –,