Exercise Your Brain

CrossFit Victoria BC - exercise brain

I came across an article on the University of Victoria website the other day that I found very interesting. It appears that exercise has been proven as an effective treatment of neurological disorders of the brain!

I’ve included some excerpts of the article, written by Sheila Potter, below:

In case you needed one, here’s another good reason to exercise-it can make you smarter. University of Victoria neuroscientist Dr. Brian Christie was one of the first researchers to discover that exercise stimulates the growth of brain cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with learning and memory. The finding debunked the long-held belief that our brains aren’t able to produce new cells-known as neurons-as we age. “We now know that new neurons are produced continually throughout our lives and that this process can be ramped up or dampened by our lifestyles,” says Christie. “In other words, the better we take care of our brains, the better they function.” Christie studies the biological mechanisms in the brain that are activated by exercise. A deeper understanding of these mechanisms may ultimately result in new approaches to establishing, maintaining and even enhancing brain cells and their connections as we age.

The applications of Christie’s research are astonishingly broad. Exercise seems to reduce the impact of any stress on the brain, whether the stress comes from a hard day at work or from such neurological disorders as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, stroke or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The link between FASD and exercise first occurred to Christie at a medical conference. “The presenter was describing how children with FASD have fewer neurons in their hippocampus, and that these neurons are less branched,” he says. “This is the diametric opposite of the positive effects of exercise. It was a definite ‘aha’ moment.”

Using sophisticated microscopy and protein chemistry techniques, Christie and his team have demonstrated that exercise promotes the growth of new neurons in FASD brains, and that these neurons are better able to communicate with each other.

In fact, Christie was surprised by how big a difference exercise makes for FASD compared to other brain disorders he has studied. He believes daily exercise should be a key treatment for FASD, guessing that an hour a day, continuous or broken up, might be enough.

Christie’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

Isn’t that amazing? Not only does exercise help promote brain health as we age, but it can also counteract the damaging effects of complicated neurological disorders.  In that case, why the heck wouldn’t you exercise? Give yourself the advantage, and WOD for your brain!


Fight Gone Bad workout / fundraiser is this Saturday, November 28th starting at 10:00am.  If you would like to take part in the workout, we have 4 spots left on teams to be filled.  Please email us today if you want to be on a team.

If you are not on a team and want to donate clothes, food and toys to the families, please start bringing it down to the gym today!
Thanks, CrossFit Zone Team

Today’s Workout:

Buy In – 10 minutes to work up to your max barbell Thruster weight.

WOD – “Dot Com”

Complete as many rounds as possible in twenty minutes of:

  • 25 Burpees
  • Body weight back squat, 15 reps

Zone 3: scale back squats to 75% of BW

Zone 2: scale back squats to 50% BW

Zone 1: AMRAP in 10-15 minutes

  • 15 burpees
  • 10 back squats (scaled as needed)

Cash Out – skin the cat 3 x 3; full body stretch holding stretches for 30 seconds.


More Posts

Summer Indulgence

Fresh local Strawberries are now available. These delicious little berries are rich in polyphenols which are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging benefits. Here

It’s a Fight Gone, Whatt?

Good… I hope! Wod tips: Choosing a different starting position can affect your score! We’ve found that starting on the row, or starting on box