In just the last couple of decades scientists have discovered that aerobic exercise causes the growth of new brain cells. With the assistance of our rodent friends and the advances in MRI technology for research on humans, study after study has shown that neurogenesis (the creation of neurons from stem cells) occurs in the learning and memory portion of the brain – the hippocampus. The question is: Why?

The answer can be found in a comparison of plants and animals. Vegetation doesn’t need a brain because it is rooted in one place. Instead of using a brain to survive, it simply relies on a genetic destiny which depends on the weather and the quality of the ground upon which its seed is scattered by the wind, bird droppings, etc.

On the other hand, animals, with their ability to move their limbs and move from place to place, depend on a brain for their survival. Their brain gives them the ability to search for food and water, fend off predators and enemies, and to find shelter and mates. Let’s take a closer look at how this pertains to mankind, since most reading this would seemingly fall into that category.

Turning a handle to get water, setting a thermostat for indoor climate control and driving to a nearby store to pick up some food are relatively recent developments and don’t require a whole lot of thinking. For our ancestors, however, through the many centuries, these activities required a great deal more physical exertion – and generally speaking, the more work involved, the more mentally taxing the activity.

For example, getting fed often required frequent hunting trips. These forays into the wilderness sometimes involved tracking animals for miles and then finding one’s way back home without roads, signs or even GPS devices. The more involved the acquisition of food, the more our forebears had to learn and remember – therefore, the need for more brain cells.

According to Ed Mayhew, author of Smarter Stronger children: The Mega Brain Power Boosters / Muscle Makers Program for Excellence Parent/Teacher Guide, “We and our children still have the same biological systems as our ancestors and thus need regular moderate and vigorous aerobic activity to grow new brain cells, just as did our predecessors.”

In centuries past, all the physical exertion involved in daily life grew extra brain cells, which were needed just to survive. By comparison, today we have greater choice of how to use those new aerobic-exercise-induced neurons, or whether to use them at all (we have 28 days to use them or they are “washed away”). According to Mayhew, “We can use our newly birthed brain cells to learn a foreign language, algebraic equations or to learn the real names of The Three Stooges. It’s up to us!”

Author's Bio: 

Ed Mayhew, author, presenter, educator, innovater, identifies problems children face today and finds solutions. In his latest book, Smarter Stronger Children(actually a handbook for parents and teachers), he introduces his Mega Brain Power Boosters / Muscle Makers Program for Excellence. This innovative teacher-and-student-approved program makes it relatively easy to reduce childhood obesity and improve the health and fitness of children while at the same time optimizing brain function for higher academic achievement. Visit:
Also a leading authority on how to slow and reverse aging, Ed speaks and writes about what he's learned from interviewing and researching hundreds of men and women who have greatly slowed/reversed aging and who, in their 40s, 60s and 80s, are documented to be in better shape -- more youthful, if your will -- than most 20- and 30-year-olds. Ed shows how you, too, can grow biologically younger in his Fitter After 50 newsletters and articles, on his webiste and in his books: Fitter After 50, Fitter for Life, and AGE BLASTERS: 3 Steps to a Younger You.Learn more at: