A recent article in the N.Y. Times Magazine did a great job compiling the recent research on exercise and the brain. The entire article is summarized in this quote:
"The value of mental-training games may be speculative, but there is another, 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."
Gretchen Reynolds, “Jogging Your Brain”, N.Y. Times Magazine, April 22, 2012
Photo: WilloToons (flickr)