An Exercise Trick to Make You Smarter

Exercise can make you smarter. Learn more with a quick tip from Get-Fit Guy.

Ben Greenfield
1-minute read

An Exercise Trick to Make You Smarter

There’s no denying that exercise can make you smarter.

Specifically, there is a compound called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF, which is a protein that acts on neurons in your central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS) to help your existing neurons survive and thrive and also to encourage the growth of new neurons and neuronal connections (also known as “synapses”).

Research has shown that exercise, and specifically aerobic exercise, can significantly enhance secretion of BDNF (strength training tends to keep more of the BDNF in your skeletal muscle).

So how can you use this to make yourself smarter?

I recommend fitting in an aerobic 20-45 minute run, bike ride, or other bout of cardio on the morning of any day in which you have high intellectual demands. It doesn’t have to be hard or make your legs, arms, or lungs burn. Just do enough to get your heart beating and your blood flowing (about a 4-6 on a 1-10 difficulty scale).

And let that BDNF flow!

If you have more questions about how exercise can affect your brain, then ask away at the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page.

Cyclist photo from Shutterstock

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.