Sweat and Get Smarter

Yes, we all know that regular exercise benefits the body as well as the mind. But what if working out actually makes people smarter?

According to the New York Times, it's true. Scientists, who've long suspected that aerobic exercise makes the brain function better, now have a growing body of evidence to explain exactly how sweat can improve the mind.

Scientists now believe brain cells can regenerate, in mice anyway. That alone is newsworthy. For years, we've believed that once a brain cell is lost, it's lost forever.

But research not only shows that brain cells in all mice regenerate themselves, but also that athletic mice re-grow far more neurons than their couch potato cousins. In fact, the mice who get regular exercise on a wheel produce two or three times as many new brain cells.

Indeed, this type of brain cell regeneration isn't just limited to rodents. People have also been shown to regenerate neurons, a fact that has changed some of our fundamental beliefs about brain cells. (It is also very good news for anyone who sniffed too much glue in kindergarten.)

One theory is that when we exercise, we get more blood pumping through our bodies, which then stimulates the brain, causing more cells to grow.

I don't know much about the biochemistry of my brain, but I do know that I feel much more tuned into things when I get a lot of aerobic exercise. And I know that I feel like a slug—mind, body, and spirit—when I skip too many workouts.

What about you? Do you notice a mental difference when you workout? Do you think it's the result of brain cell regeneration?

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