Exercise Reduces Anxiety While Also Promoting the Growth of New Neurons

Posted on July 18, 2013  Comments (7)

Exercise reorganizes the brain to be more resilient to stress

These findings potentially resolve a discrepancy in research related to the effect of exercise on the brain — namely that exercise reduces anxiety while also promoting the growth of new neurons in the ventral hippocampus. Because these young neurons are typically more excitable than their more mature counterparts, exercise should result in more anxiety, not less. The Princeton-led researchers, however, found that exercise also strengthens the mechanisms that prevent these brain cells from firing.

From an evolutionary standpoint, the research also shows that the brain can be extremely adaptive and tailor its own processes to an organism’s lifestyle or surroundings, Gould said. A higher likelihood of anxious behavior may have an adaptive advantage for less physically fit creatures. Anxiety often manifests itself in avoidant behavior and avoiding potentially dangerous situations would increase the likelihood of survival, particularly for those less capable of responding with a “fight or flight” reaction, she said.

The anxiety-reducing effect of exercise was canceled out when the researchers blocked the GABA receptor that calms neuron activity in the ventral hippocampus.

Interesting research (with mice) that explores how exercise makes us more resilient to stress. I know for me, exercise seems to help relieve stress.

Related: Feed your Newborn NeuronsNew Neurons are Needed for New MemoriesRegular Aerobic Exercise for a Faster Brain (2007)Inactivity Leads to 5.3 Million Early Deaths a YearHow Aerobic Exercise Suppresses Appetite

7 Responses to “Exercise Reduces Anxiety While Also Promoting the Growth of New Neurons”

  1. James
    July 19th, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    One of biggest revelations for me is the connection between brain and the body.

    Exercising influences your mental processes.

    Even changing your posture will change hormones level and you will end you will end up feeling better.

    Mind and body really are connected and low physical activity is one of worst things that you can do to yourself.


  2. Mark
    July 19th, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    Even when workouts are harsh, I always feel accomplished and relaxed once I am done. Could it be a stress reducer in day to day activities? I think so.

  3. Ron Strope
    July 25th, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

    I run everyday after work because of this. It helps me forget about the crazyness that I go through at night. It’s such a great way to let of steam and yea reduce stress.

  4. shahalam khan
    July 28th, 2013 @ 3:51 am

    Exercise is like a addition to me, I don’t drink don’t smoke neither do I drugs workout is my only addiction, and it’s healthy as well, thanks fir share.

  5. Paul S
    August 15th, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

    “Mind and body really are connected and low physical activity is one of worst things that you can do to yourself.” completely agree with james. Get some fresh air, get out of the office and go for a walk after lunch.

  6. edz vinoya
    September 2nd, 2013 @ 1:57 am

    I love doing exercise daily, to make my body fit.

  7. Arie
    March 12th, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

    I totally agree. I try to run 3 times a week, and it makes me feel much much better.

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