Exercise Induces Different Ways of Brain Activation – Short Tao

Average Reading Time: 2 minutes

This article is about brain activation. So bear with me. Earlier this year I started a new fitness program. I have been neglecting heavy lifting for a short amount of repetitions in the past. So, in order to grow and challenge myself, I decided to give this a try.

The best way to improve your strength is to give your muscles new stimuli. The easy way to do so is to find a way to trigger it. New movements, sports or exercises are ideal for that. In my case lifting a lot of weight obviously helps to grow my muscles.

Why this preface?

The reason why I start with this preface is, that this kind of lifting is also called CNS training (heavy weight, 1-4 repetitions/set). While not obvious at first, this kind of training really makes your Central Nervous System work overtime.

You need all your brain strength to fully activate and engage your muscles (intramuscular activation). In other words, the mind-body connection is very elevated and gets your brain tired.

In the past, this always sounded weird. People were talking about how brain-tired they felt. Now I know what they were talking about. After my first really heavy deadlifting session I felt this tiredness a lot.

My brain felt tired the following day as if I had studied for hours and been tested afterwards. While this has been known anecdotally for years, researched showed this recently too. Depending on what kind of physical exercise you do, other regions of your brain are triggered.

Have a look at this overview from consciouslifenews.com (read more about this here):

Brain Activation

As you can see, lifting weights activates the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for complex thinking, reasoning or problem-solving. That’s why it is no surprise that I feel mentally tired today.

Why is this important? Well, I certainly wouldn’t like to do the most challenging thinking today, like writing an exam or sitting in an interview. I might prefer doing some aerobic exercise instead the previous day.

Brain Activation & Body Responses

In case you wondered why you are often emotional after yoga: it activates the frontal lobe, that’s where your emotions are handled. By doing yoga you trigger emotions. As many people feel odd or bad when they start crying during yoga classes this is, hopefully, good news. There’s nothing wrong with you. You are simply a human being feeling emotions.

If you really have bad food cravings aim for HIIT. The high but short workout impacts your hypothalamus and reduces your ghrelin levels (that’s the hormone signalling your body that you are hungry). The moment the production of the hormone gets reduces, your hunger and cravings can completely disappear.

All that is good to know, but not working out at all, that has the worst impact on health. That’s why I want to conclude this e-mail by quoting the article:

“If you’re not active, do something that you enjoy. The best exercise is the kind that you’ll actually do.”

I really hope this helps you to plan your life better or understand things of the past. For me, this was definitely an interesting discovery.

Share this with your friends and make them aware of these facts too. I’d also hear your thoughts on the topic too.


This article is part of the Short Tao series. These are posts, articles, reviews and similar content, provided to you in a short and easy to digest format. This means, I cut to the chase quickly and aim to make it as short and informative as possible. The content, especially when it comes to science, is up to date when I publish it, but times change. So, if anything you read here has been seen changes, make sure to let me know. Ultimately, this is for your entertainment and education. Comment below to share your thoughts and make sure to let your friends know of this information too – it could change lives.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.