This One Exercise Could Actually Make You Smarter And Improve Your Memory

by Talia Koren
Kate Daigneault

There's an endless list of reasons that exercise is good for you, and here's one more thing to add to that list.

If you want to get smarter, it's time to get sweatier. Based on this new study, running helps improve your memory and your ability to learn and retain information. It's all thanks to the production of a protein called cathepsin B, which your muscles produce with vigorous exercise.

Basically, the more strenuous your workouts, the more cathepsin B you'll have in your system to increase your memory and thinking skills.

Researchers tested men and women by having them run intensely three times a week for an hour or more. They also tested mice and monkeys with the same method. While tracking the presence of cathepsin B over time, the researchers found that participants did better on memory tests and other thinking assessments.

It gets better, though. The men and women who ran the hardest and were the most fit had the highest levels of cathepsin B, as well as the most-improved test scores.

Why did the researchers even care to look for cathepsin B? They knew that, while working out, your muscles burn fuel and release proteins and other substances into your bloodstream, which then go to the brain.

Researchers hadn't looked at cathepsin B and its effects on the brain so closely before. But by looking more closely, they found that, in addition to helping sore muscles recover, this protein also boosted brain health. Thanks, cathepsin B!

Here's the takeaway from this study: Your brain works best when you're exercising consistently because it's flooded with this brain-boosting protein.

So, the next time you're studying for a test or trying to learn a new language, running frequently would be a great studying technique.

Citations: Can Running Make You Smarter? (Well)