Do you ever feel as if your brain is simply exhausted from your workload? Does it seem like you are forgetting even the simplest tasks or appointments? Have you tried brain games to increase your memory to no avail, or are you relying on copious amounts of coffee to keep your brain up to speed during the day? Just like every other muscle in your body, your brain needs exercise to perform well. While there are many different brain exercises to keep your memory running sharp, you can actually help your brain out quite a bit by lacing up your sneakers and hitting the gym.

Not only does physical activity improve your mood, but it can also support your overall brain function on both behavioral and molecular levels. In fact, through physical exercise, the mature brain can create new neurons, or brain pathways, as well as brain cells. Additionally, exercise prevents the brain from growing holes in its white and gray matter. Of course, there are certain exercises that your brain can benefit from most. Here are the types of exercise ranked based on which type of exercise is best for the brain:

Weight Training: Good

If you are only focusing on weight machines and dumbbells when you go to the gym, you may want to try a new approach, especially if you are looking to improve your brain health. While weight training is fantastic for growing muscle mass, it has essentially no effect on the brain’s health. However, weight training can lead to blood vessel creation and pathways between blood cells.

Interval Training: Better

Interval training has been shown to create new neurons in the brain, which is fantastic for brain health. Additionally, interval training provides a higher level of overall fitness than most alternative exercise options, because it includes both cardio and weight training. However, interval training can drain you because of the amount of stress it puts on your body, so if you are looking to energize your mind, you should probably consider moderate endurance exercise.

Aerobic Training: Best

If your main focus in the gym is to benefit your brain function, you will want to zero in on aerobic training. Aerobic training is known to lead to copious amounts of neurogenesis (or generation of new cells). In fact, aerobic workouts have the potential to double or even triple the number of brain cells in your hippocampus. The longer you train, the more brain cells you create. These aerobic exercises can include distance running or jogging, cycling, swimming, skiing, and any other aerobic exercise than you can maintain for a long period of time. If your joints cannot handle the wear and tear of distance running, jump on the elliptical for a low-impact alternative.

Keeping a healthy and active lifestyle not only benefits your body, but does a great deal of good for your brain’s health and function. Weight training can create pathways for your brain cells while also increasing your muscle mass. Interval training produces some neurons in the brain, but really focuses on your overall fitness. Without a doubt, aerobic fitness is the best exercise for your brain. Aerobics allow your brain to grow robust numbers of neurons while not adding stress into the mix. Next time you hit the gym for a workout, spend a little extra time on the treadmill. Your brain will absolutely thank you for it.