Contrary to popular belief, brain cells can regenerate themselves.
Newer research shows that the growth of new brain cells is linked to the benefits of exercise as a stress reducer. There is plenty of research showing that exercise improves mood and cognition (thinking processes), and separate research that shows slower replacement of brain cells may result in depression as well.
This new research tied the two together showing that exercise promotes brain cell regeneration in areas where depressive disorders localize, alleviating stress and improving emotional regulation.
This information just puts a new twist on what we’ve known; that is, exercise can improve mood, decrease depression and lower stress…by promoting the growth of new neurons (brain cells).
Yau, S-K.; Lau, B. W-M.; So, K-F. “Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis: A Possible Way How Physical Exercise Counteracts Stress.” Cell Transplantation 20(1):99-111(13); 2011.