How myokines enhance brain function through exercise

WYou know that working out is good for your body. But there’s new research that explains why exercise is especially good for your brain. Key to this are molecules called myokines, which are “important messengers [that] stimulates function and coordinates homeostasis with many other organs, including the liver, kidneys and, of course, the brain,” said paper co-author Michael Vinicius Lourenço, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. . In the paper, Lourenco and his co-authors reviewed recent research and were able to establish that muscles and the brain communicate with each other in some pretty exciting ways.

When you run, walk, lift weights, do pilates, or do any type of exercise, your muscles contract. The act of contraction prompts your muscles to release myokines. Those molecules then travel throughout your body and basically tell your organs to go into gear and do their jobs. Some types of myokines are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and even go directly to your brain. What do these molecules do once they are in your noodle?

“Several myokines—erysin, hydroxybutyrate, etc.—have been shown to stimulate neuronal function and facilitate synapses, which are the way neurons communicate with each other,” Lourenco said. Specifically, they travel to areas of the brain responsible for regulating your mood and facilitating learning and memory. They then do a number of brain-boosting activities, including helping your brain form new neurons, making new (and strengthening existing) connections, and boosting your executive function, memory, and mood. All pretty dang important components that contribute to making you the thinking machine that you are.

Lourenco says that all exercise that involves muscle contraction should have these effects, and that there is no right or wrong way to increase your brain power through your body. “Any type of regular exercise is good, as long as it’s regular and recommended for a given person,” Lourenco says.

As a fitness writer Casey Johnston noted on Twitter When he heard research findings, there was often a perceived gap between those who worked their brains and those who worked their bodies. But this research and our deeper understanding of myokines show that both are the same. It’s the definition of a win-win.

This strength and mobility workout is the perfect way to activate your muscles (and myokines):

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