Myokine is released into the bloodstream when your muscles contract, make new cells, or perform other metabolic activities. When they reach the brain, they also regulate physiological and metabolic responses there. As a result, myokines have the potential to influence cognition, mood, and emotional behavior. Exercise further stimulates what scientists call the “cross-talk” brain-muscle, and these myokine messengers help identify specific beneficial responses in the brain. These may include the formation of new neurons and increased synaptic plasticity, both of which enhance learning and memory.
In these ways, strong muscles are essential for healthy brain function.
In young muscle, a small amount of exercise activates molecular processes that shows muscle growth. Muscle fibers endure damage from stress and tension, then repair themselves by fusing together and increasing in size and mass. Muscles become stronger by surviving each series of minor breakdowns, allowing for regeneration, rejuvenation, and regrowth. As we age, the signals sent by exercise become much weaker. Although it’s harder for the elderly to gain and maintain muscle mass, it’s still possible to do so, and maintaining that is important for brain support.
Even moderate exercise can increase metabolism in brain regions important for learning and memory in older adults. And the brain itself has been found to respond to exercise in amazingly physical ways. The hippocampus, a brain structure that plays an important role in learning and memory, shrinks in late adulthood; This can increase the risk of dementia. Exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampuseven at the end of life, protects against age-related loss and improves spatial memory.