It’s easy to feel and see the physical benefits of exercise. We feel stronger, faster, our skin looks fresh, and our jeans fit better. Exercise can also be easy to quantify emotionally. After a good workout, you’ll normally feel happier and more motivated, stronger emotionally. But what we often don’t feel immediately is what exercise can do for our brains.
Gretchen Reynolds writes in New York Times Magazine, “There is an easy-to-achieve, scientifically proven way to make yourself smarter. Go for a walk or a swim. For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is the relationship. Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons — and the makeup of brain matter itself — scientists in just the past few months have discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.”
So today, when you’re thinking about staying on the couch instead of heading to the gym, if isn’t not enough to think about your jeans size or your level of happiness, think about your intelligence. Because that 60 minutes in the gym could just make you smarter.