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Want to improve your IQ? Hit the gym

October 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Quiz shows to black board lectures, we're on a continual quest to give our brain a boost. Get on your running shoes because new studies show that exercise literally makes you smarter.For certain amount of time after exercise, University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman says you're smarter. His lab protocol uses a mix of treadmills, space-age skull caps that monitor brain activity with EEGS, and before and after computer cognition tests.

The studies have produced stunning results.

"It's good for how fast individuals process information and how they perform on cognitive tasks," Hillman said.

Thirty minutes of movement can make you up to 10 percent brainier.

"We're not talking about running marathons or running as hard as you can, but rather, a moderately intense stroll or walk," Hillman said.

On average, the test participants got more answers right and more quickly.

How long will the benefits enhance a mental state?

The immediate cognitive effects last a few hours. but other ongoing research suggests that regular exercise has long-term effects on the brain. It seems to increase the size of frontal lobes, help form connections and could even keep Alzheimer's at bay.

The practical implications of this are huge. If you're taking a test, take a walk first. if you're giving a big speech, hit the treadmill. For kids, 20 minutes of moderate play can increase not only attention but achievement test results.

Who knew it was really smart to sweat?


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