Exercise Your Way to a Younger Brain? Thank you, GPLD1!

Do you like exercise? If you’re an AFNA student, graduate, staff member, or a client who is lucky enough to receive fitness coaching from an AFNA certified fitness trainer the answer is – at least on most days – an enthusiastic yes. We know the benefits of exercise. Stronger body, better posture, healthier nutrition drives, and those awesome post-workout endorphins – to name just a few.

It’s not surprising to learn that the most astonishing body part of all, your marvelous brain, also reaps youthful rewards from a smartly designed fitness regimen. Today’s New York Times article, How Exercise May Bolster The Brain by Gretchen Reynolds makes mention of a once obscure liver protein called GPLD1.

Hey GPLD1! Your days in the shadows are over. Welcome to the national spotlight! So how is GPLD1 linked to exercise and brain health? Recent studies show that GPLD1 is released in our blood from an early age whenever we are physically pushed to work harder and longer. When we exercise as adults, GPLD1 is also released and its effect on the brain is, no lie, kind of beautiful:

“It was like “transferring a memory of youth through blood,”
says Saul Villeda, a professor at U.C.S.F., who conducted the study with his colleagues Alana Horowitz, Xuelai Fan and others.
— quoted from New York Times, How Exercise May Bolster The Brain, by Gretchen Reynolds, July 15, 2020.

Through exercise, our brains literally remember what it was like being a kid! Better memory, analytical thinking, and problem solving are direct results. How cool is that? Now if I can just get my brain to stop telling me that watching Netflix and eating Doritos for the next two hours is a “good idea” … but more on that topic next week. Go forth and exercise!