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Aerobic Exercises Make You Smarter Than High-Intensity Workouts

Aerobic Exercises Make You Smarter Than High-Intensity Workouts

Can you exercise to get smarter? Yes, you can.

The numerous benefits of exercise has been well-documented by scientific literature, exercise alters the structure and function of the brain. The more physical activity you engage in, the greater the increase in brain volume. Furthermore, it can reduce the number and size of age-related holes in the brain’s white and gray matter.

What most people don’t know is that different types of workouts can cause different levels of neurogenesis (increasing the number of neurons a.k.a nerves in your brain)

The Experiment:

Scientist in Finland at the University of Jyvaskyla tested their hypothesis on a large batch of adult rats. There were 4 groups:

  • Aerobic Endurance Training (Moderate Jogging)
  • High-Intensity Training (Sprint in their Cages with Interval Rests)
  • Weight Training (Small Weights Attached to Tails)
  • Sedentary (Control Group)

All groups that exercised show an increase in neurogenesis, which means they formed more nerve endings in their brains, with those exercising more (walking/jogging) forming more neurons.

The Best:

Aerobic exercises increased neurogenesis the most, followed by High Intensity Training, Weight Training, then obviously sedentary rats with no workouts being done.

Why?

Scientists aren’t exactly sure. However, aerobic training seems to increase the production of B.D.N.F, a neurological factor responsible for promoting nerve growth whereas resistance training, despite its numerous benefits does not really do.

Implications:

A sound training programme should include both aerobic and weight training movements, however, if you are looking for that extra edge and mental boost, then maybe going for long jogs to clear your head would be the most ideal workout for you.

Reference:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/02/17/which-type-of-exercise-is-best-for-the-brain/?_r=0

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/JP271552/abstract

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