A new study at the University of South Carolina is aiming to prove that exercise doesn't just build strength and endurance; it also boosts brain power. The research is based on evidence that the brain exhibits increased activity in response to physical activity, while sedentary subjects (in this case, mice) demonstrated no mental improvement.
As we see it, there's never been a better reason to get in shape (save for beach season and your wedding day). Better yet, the amount of exercise needed to whip your brain into tip-top shape is totally reasonable-just half an hour per day. Sharpen your physical form and intellectual wit with these brain boosting exercises you've (probably) never tried. All they take is 30 minutes or less.
CrossFit: Condition your body and brain
If you think algebra is tough, try lifting a tire over your head-seven times. That's what you'll be asked to do if you participate in a CrossFit class, along with other hard-core strength and conditioning exercises like box jumps and shoulder presses.
This physically demanding program has attracted a global following of Olympic athletes, military specialists and women who love their abs and biceps. There's even CrossFit for kids, which according to current research should lock down straight A's and admission to Yale.
Plyometrics: Sit-ups for smarties
Plyometrics, or "jump training," are basically old-school exercises like sprints and push-ups that are performed with explosive force. They're meant to make you jump higher and run quicker. Now, they may also improve your Sudoku speed.
Convenient and engaging, plyometrics can burn up to 300 calories in 30 minutes, and the exercises don't require fancy equipment or much space. If you're not sure how to get started, ask a personal trainer to show you some of the basic moves before trying them on your own.
Have you ever noticed yourself whizzing through crossword puzzles after a solid sweat session at the gym? If you've ever experienced a boost in brain power from working out, we want to know!