Most scientific studies are false, but at least when they match up to personal experience I can give them some credibility as maybe being true
A decades-long sentiment I have alluded to many times, I also credit exercise with helping me recover faster and better from my concussion than I might have otherwise.
2022-01-27, by Ross Pomeroy. Emphasis added.
Physical activity can do wonders for the body. Exercise can trim weight, chisel muscles, and strengthen the lower back, among many other benefits. Less overt, but no less consequential, physical activity can also buff up your brain. Science is increasingly revealing that the brains of those who regularly work out can look very different compared to the brains of people who don't.
Changes can start to occur in adolescence. Reviewing the scientific literature in 2018, researchers from the University of Southern California found that for teens aged 15-18, regular exercisers tended to have larger hippocampal volumes as well as larger rostral middle frontal volumes compared to healthy matched control teenagers. The hippocampus is most commonly associated with memory and spatial navigation, while the rostral middle frontal gyrus has been linked toemotion regulation and working memory. Studies suggest that these structural changes translate to improved cognitive performance and better academic outcomes.
Exercise's brain augmenting qualities extend into adulthood, even though the brain tends to be less 'plastic' (easily changed) as we get older. Rutgers University scientists beautifully demonstrated this in a study published early last year:
One way exercise can induce changes in the brain is by increasing levels of the protein brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the blood, which is linked to neurogenesis. More BDNF may mean more new neurons in the brain. Regular exercise also increases the growth of additional blood vessels in the brain and helps maintain current ones, leading to boosted blood flow for the oxygen-hungry organ. Lastly, physical activity seems to keep microglia in good working order. Microglia "constantly check the brain for potential threats from microbes or dying or damaged cells and clear any damage they find," Áine Kelly, a Professor in Physiology at Trinity College Dublin wrote for The Conversation.
Regularly moving one's body may be the closest thing there is to a health panacea, for both outside the skull and inside.
WIND: cause and effect or correlation is not causation? I vote for cause-effect. The mind and body are intertwined. And increased blood flow alone should greatly improve health, purely from a physiological standpoint.