This article is part of a series about getting fit in the new year. Check out the entire Man up! feature here.
I’ve never exercised more in my life than the semester I wrote my college thesis- after a workout, I found myself physically exhausted but mentally ready to go. As it turns out, my improved academic performance wasn’t a fluke, or all in my head: A new study shows that exercising not only spurs the creation of new brain cells, it strengthens the ones you already have.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina put one group of mice on an exercise regimen for eight weeks, and watched their brain development compared to couch-potato mice counterparts. The workout fiends had more developed mitochondria throughout their brains, compared to no development in the non-exercising mice.
There’s a lot of evidence that regular exercise improves cell performance throughout the body, including the brain. And the best part is you don’t need to run an Iron Man to up your IQ- the human equivalent of the mouse workout is a 30 minute jog.
So hit the treadmill, and see if you can’t exercise your way into MENSA.
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