Does Exercise Help With Brain Fog?

Confusion, forgetfulness, and an inability to concentrate are the most obvious symptoms of brain fog, a cognitive condition that can range from mild to severe. But brain fog often doesn't stop there. Bangkok Hospital says brain fog can induce mood swings, irritability, lack of motivation, headaches, fatigue, and even mild depression. Age-related physiological changes to the brain can trigger brain fog, and environmental factors like lack of sleep, stress, or overworking can impair cognitive function. Left untreated, brain fog could lead to permanent memory loss and incurable neurological conditions like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. 

Healthline says brain fog is not considered a medical condition but rather a type of cognitive dysfunction. However, some medical conditions can trigger brain fog, including autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) and lupus, diabetes, anemia, and hypothyroidism. The University of Central Florida (UCF) says the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning, is highly susceptible to age-related brain changes and neurological damage. According to UCF, even without underlying medical conditions or other factors, hippocampus function typically declines about one percent each year, starting at age 20. 

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to beat brain fog — and one of them is exercise.

Walking can help with brain fog

Researchers say moderate cardio exercise can help protect the hippocampus and preserve related cognitive processes (via University of Central Florida). A recent study of 86 women over 70 found that those who had completed six months of aerobic cardio experienced notable growth in their hippocampus region, as opposed to those women who worked on muscle tone and balance. Just thirty minutes of brisk walking can help protect your brain and could help clear out those mental cobwebs, especially as you age. Dancing, climbing stairs, and doing everyday chores around the house like yard work, cleaning, or anything else that makes you break a sweat also count as cardio and can boost brain power too. Additionally, if you have a job that involves sitting for long periods, Synergy Health Associates suggests standing up frequently throughout the day as an easy way to boost activity in order to stimulate brain function and reduce brain fog.

According to Synergy Health Associates, getting more sleep and reducing stress can also boost brain function when you're not feeling your sharpest. Changing your diet, reducing toxins in your home, adjusting lifestyle habits, and addressing underlying health conditions can help with brain fog too. But, as with many things, consistency is the key to maintaining mental sharpness.