Wanna Get Smarter? Do More Cardio!

February 23, 2012

Who would have ever thought that if you want to win a Nobel Prize, you should not spend countless hours in a library or in a laboratory, but you must also make sure to raise your heart rate with a kick-ass cardio activity almost daily?
In fact, a newly published study has determined aerobic fitness has a positive effect on mental functions.

The study

The study was conducted at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland jointly with the Univerisity of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA).
In a nutshell, the researchers used some kind of super-rats that were bred for 23 generations to increase their running skills. Due to this this the rats were “Natural-Born” long distance runners (how awesome is that!)
Those super-rats (with higher aerobic capacity) were then used in a test to measure flexible cognition, together with other normal-rats.

The findings

The results showed that the super-rats outperformed the others, meaning that greater aerobic capacity is somehow linked with better cognitive functions.
However, many questions still need to be answered: such as determining the neurobiological mechanisms that mediate the effect of aerobic capacity with the brain.
The Finnish researchers aim, in the future, to find out what physical exercise can effectively protect the brain from the damages of aging.
But, as of today, they still can claim that physical activity is good for your brain, at any age.


This study is still preliminary and very limited in size, however it gives us the opportunity to stress out - again - that exercising is beneficial not only for our body but also for the brain.
For instance, elderly people that are physically active are less likely to be subject to aging-related cognitive decline than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
But also younger individuals can greatly benefit from doing cardio activity, as an increase in physical activity raises not only aerobic capacity but also learning ability.
And even if you’re not aiming to win the Nobel Prize you still can greatly benefit from a better functioning brain...who doesn’t?

The Iron You


  1. Seriously, who would have thought...

  2. I definitely feel more alert / focused after a cardio session.

    Learning while exercising may be the next step!