What is BDNF?
BDNF stands for Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor - which is like miracle grow for the brain.
BDNF is involved in preserving already existing nerve cells and encouraging the growth of new nerve cells and synapses in the brain. The growth of new nerve cells is called brain plasticity and helps the brain heal from trauma, such as a concussion, a stroke or other adverse health conditions. Maintaining brain plasticity is extremely important at any age, so everyone should listen up!
BDNF plays an important role in learning, memory and behavior. As a result increasing levels of BDNF has been shown to enhance mood, sleep, eating habits, and appetite.
Our level of BDNF decreases with age, and is at its highest during the developmental phases of life, helping to facilitate learning and motor development.
But don’t despair, although a sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact BDNF, EXERCISE HELPS TO REVERSE IT!!!
EXERCISE increases circulation to the brain >>> more oxygen to the brain = a healthier brain
EXERCISE increases the size of the hippocampus, which is associated with longer lasting spatial memory
EXERCISE increases the production of BDNF
Games that involve MENTAL EXERCISE also increase levels of BDNF, although best combined with physical movement too