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The way your brain works is no different than the rest of your muscles, you either use it or you lose it.
Exercise helps memory and thinking. It improves your mood, your sleep, it reduces stress and anxiety. Working out also helps in releasing hormones, which helps in the growth of brain cells. All these factors affect brain performance.
Cardio is great for your body and your brain. It increases heart rate and blood flow to your brain. Your increased heart rate results in harder and faster breathing while working out. Your increased breathing pumps more oxygen into your bloodstream, therefore more oxygen is delivered to your brain. This leads to neurogenesis.
Tip: Working out in the morning before going to work boosts brain activity and prepares you for mental stress for the rest of the day. It also helps with retention of new information, and better reaction to complex situations.