How Exercise Changes Your Brain and Your Mood

Beyond the runner’s high lies a biochemical process that is part of the brain’s growth and repair system. Central to that process is a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF protects existing brain cells from damage. It strengthens the synapses (a synapse is the structure between nerves, through which messages are transmitted), and helps form new synapses. BDNF is also involved in a process called neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells.

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