women_runningHey girls, ever wonder how you can maintain a great physique and make yourself smarter at the same time? It seems like a myth at first, but a recent scientific study may have the answer.
We’ve always known that exercise is a cornerstone in any healthy lifestyle, but not all of us are aware that certain types of exercise have been proven to enhance brainpower as well. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, running is the form of exercise most beneficial to the brain.

In the experiment, one group of mice were trained to run in an ordinary, voluntary rodent wheel, while the other group were trained to run in a regulated, accelerated treadmill. After four weeks of this conditioning, their memory and learning abilities were tested through the Morris water maze, and results found that only the treadmill runners did better in the avoidance task, which requires more complex thinking skills.

The reasons behind the miraculous effects of running are varied. Running stimulates activity in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that controls learning and memory. It can also boost brain cell survival in people with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. In addition, the fact that running is aerobic means that it carries growth factors from the brain to the body, which creates new connections between the brain and bodily tissue. The New York Times offers a more elaborate explanation here.

Beside these helpful boosts to your brain, running and exercise in general lower stress rates, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also prevents weight gain and improves our mood. So the next time you feel like your mind is melting into mush, why not go out for a nice, mentally refreshing jog? It’ll do you a world of good.

Photo via Vital Body & Mind

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