Exercise Smarts

Working out is not only smart for your heart, it actually makes you smarter! Canadian researchers have unveiled new research that suggests an impressive connection between moving the body and toning up that neurological muscle that is the brain.

“If you talk to people who exercise they say it makes them feel sharper. Now we’ve found a way to measure that,” says Dr. Martin Juneau, director of the Montreal Heart Institute, who presented findings at the recent Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

When researchers asked a group of normally sedentary adults (with an average age of about 49) to engage in regular, vigorous exercise just twice a week for a period of four months, they learned that the more people exercised, the more their brain function improved.

While it’s normal for cognitive function to decline with age, the researchers says their findings suggest that working out could also diminish that decline.

Of course, there’s a whole host of other benefits that come with the commitment to exercise. Not surprisingly, the study participants noticed other benefits too — their weight, body mass index and fat mass declined while their aerobic capacity (also known as VO2 Max) increased substantially.