By Shane Parrish
July 15, 2015
IDEAS
Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

I’ve talked about how different I feel after yoga or a long walk; things become clearer and I become calmer. The fascinating book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John Ratey, explains biologically what accounts for these significant changes in our mind and body.

This is your brain on exercise.

Exercise can have a dramatic affect on our ability to learn.

Exercise affects how primed our brain is to take on this new information and create these new connections. If you think of your mind as a garden, the more you move, the more you enrich the soil with positive neurotransmitters like dopamine (attention, motivation, pleasure), serotonin (mood, self-esteem, learning), and norepinephrine (arousal, alertness, attention, mood). More importantly you sprinkle the ground with something called ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein produced inside nerve cells which Ratey has dubbed ‘Miracle-Gro for the brain.’

Spark goes into detail regarding the types of exercise that best produce this cocktail of neurotransmitters and proteins for your brain to sip on but at the end of the day any movement is good, especially if it’s something you want to do.

So next time you get in a bit of a rut or you simply want to maximize your potential, get up and get moving.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

Join over 60,000 readers and get a free weekly update via email here.

Read next: How Diabetes Harms the Brain

Download TIME’s mobile app for iOS to have your world explained wherever you go

Contact us at editors@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST