Exercise won’t just make you sweat, feel sore or potentially help you lose weight. Physiologists suggest that it’ll make you smarter, or likely protect you from getting dumber.
It turns out that a half-hour treadmill workout for a mouse triggers mitochondrial production in both the muscles and the brain, and, as Tara Parker Pope notes, “the greater the mitochondrial density in a cell, the greater its vitality.” In other words, exercise can contribute to a more active and energetic brain. Lest we write off the mice as not men, keep in mind that mitochondrial production in muscles is a recognized result of human exercise (making the leap to such production in the brain not too tough) and long-term longitudinal studies have already documented that there is a lower risk of neurological disease among long-term runners.
What have you got to lose? Exercise, and embrace your inner mitochondriac. Your brain – and your peers, family and friends – may thank you for it.