Aerobic activity actually makes you smarter! When you exercise, your muscles release protein that travels through your bloodstream and into your brain, where it builds new brain cells and causes them to link together. Studies show that fit individuals (those with normal BMI and strong aerobic capacity) perform better on tests and complex tasks. Under MRI, fit individuals demonstrate increased brain activity in the prefrontal cortex (responsible for executive function) than non-fit individuals. And in schools, children who took their toughest class immediately after aerobic activity performed much better than those who took the class at the opposite end of the day from aerobic activity. Want to think more clearly and perform better? Move your body every day!
For more on exercise’s amazing benefits for your brain, check out the new book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.