The last great myth about exercise — that it’s not a match for books when it comes to improving the brain — has been busted.

Several studies have combined to show the extraordinary impact of physical exercise on brain function and memory. Evidence? How about a finding that exercise increases levels of a critical protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in the brain?

BDNF supports existing brain nerve cells and encourages the growth of new ones and of the synapses that let them communicate. It’s like motor oil for the brain. And exercise has also been shown to help memory, slow dementia and ease depression.

Photo credit: Copyright © – Jacob Ammentorp Lund.