This Is Your Brain on Exercise
by Markham Heid August 2, 2011
“A strong body makes the mind strong,” Thomas Jefferson once said.
Apparently TJ was on to something: Aerobic exercise and weight training improve brain function in a variety of ways, according to a review of more than 100 recent studies by University of Illinois exercise scientists.
Several of the studies found that exercise spurs your body’s production of a protein called insulin-like growth factor-1. IGF-1 has been shown to stimulate the growth of neurons and enhance cognitive performance, the Champaign-Urbana-based team writes. (We hear Einstein was a real gym rat.)
You don’t need to log endless treadmill hours to boost brainpower, either: Most of the studies found that exercising three days a week for 30 minutes was enough to observe an effect.