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Does Exercise Help With Depression? Here's What Happens in Your Brain

The effects of activity can help slow brain oxidation and inflammation.

You've probably heard celebrities say they frequently exercise to stay healthy physically and mentally. Like Selena Gomez, who said, "If I don't work out…everything about me just feels a bit down." Turns out, there could be some truth to that.

Now neuroscientists from the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research into Mental Illness have found out how the two are related. They discovered that (in mice) exercise stimulates the production of a molecule called lactate, which then acts as an antidepressant by helping cool excess brain oxidation and inflammation. This nourishes neurons and even stimulates the growth of new nerve connections. Other studies show exercise triggers the release of proteins called growth factors that also stimulate new nerve cell growth. This combo of benefits pushes back against the loss of neurons that's associated with depression in people and stress in animals.

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