The One Workout That Will Make You Smarter, According to Study

by Daniel Barna

The benefits of running are as innumerable as they are well documented. Going for a daily jog will improve your cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and even strengthen your bones. But a new study from the National Institute of Health claims that running also makes you smarter.

Researchers at NIH hypothesized that some of the substances released into the bloodstream during exercise also make their way to the brain. After having subjects run up to four times a day over the course of four months and issuing them various cognitive tests throughout, researchers found that test scores improved the more the subjects ran.

Researchers specifically zeroed in on the enzyme Cathepsin B, which typically helps sore muscles recover after aerobic exercise. Researchers found that the subjects who ran the most had not only produced the most Cathepsin B but also showed the most improved test scores.

Henriette van Praag, an investigator at the NIH who led the study, concluded that the human brain is far more effective with ample amounts of Cathepsin B helping it along. She also noted that "there is good reason to think that any amount of exercise is going to be better than none."

Track your running with Fitbit Zip and let us know if you find that running helps improve your cognitive skills.

Explore: exercise, running, Memory

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