You know exercising is smart. But might your workout actually be making you smarter?

In a study published in Nature, a group of over 1,100 people with an average age of about 28 participated in physical and mental tests. In the physical tests, participants walked as fast as they could for two minutes; their distance was measured as a proxy of their endurance. Those who went farthest in the two-minute test scored highest for endurance.

In the mental tests, researchers gauged things like memory, reasoning, and judgement. They also used MRI tests to look at brain function.

The tests revealed the fittest people—those with higher levels of endurance—scored better on the cognitive tests and higher levels of something called fractional anisotropy, which resembles white matter in the brain.

White matter is your brain’s communication system—think wires that connect brain parts with each other to share messages, as Jonathan Repple Ph.D., of the department of psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University of Muenster Hospital in Muenster, Germany, explained to Runner’s World. If you have high levels of intact white matter, it means your wiring is solid—your brain is well-connected and brain cells can quickly communicate.

More in category

History Made: Kipchoge Runs Under 2 Hours at INEOS 1:59 Challenge History Made: Kipchoge Runs Under 2 Hours at INEOS 1:59 Challenge
October 12, 2019Runner's World
Jameela Jamil Just Opened Up About Her Suicide Attempt In Emotional Tweet Jameela Jamil Just Opened Up About Her Suicide Attempt In Emotional Tweet
October 12, 2019Prevention
Can Eliud Kipchoge Break 2 Hours? Can Eliud Kipchoge Break 2 Hours?
October 11, 2019Runner's World
Here's how this guy lost 120 lbs. and got back into shape Here's how this guy lost 120 lbs. and got back into shape
October 11, 2019MSN
Male breast cancer: What doctors need you to know Male breast cancer: What doctors need you to know
October 11, 2019MSN
Rupp’s Return to Chicago Has Not Been Smooth Rupp’s Return to Chicago Has Not Been Smooth
October 11, 2019Runner's World
'The face of heroin': Mom shares haunting before and after pics of addiction 'The face of heroin': Mom shares haunting before and after pics of addiction
October 11, 2019MSN
Sarah Silverman talks needing to 'be funny to survive' in new documentary about mental health Sarah Silverman talks needing to 'be funny to survive' in new documentary about mental health
October 11, 2019MSN
How to Cope With Some of the Most Difficult Menopause Symptoms How to Cope With Some of the Most Difficult Menopause Symptoms
October 11, 2019Prevention
U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 29 U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 29
October 11, 2019MSN
One Twist in ‘Joker’ May Not Be a Twist at All One Twist in ‘Joker’ May Not Be a Twist at All
October 09, 2019Men's Health
How to Solve AC Joint Pain in Your Shoulder How to Solve AC Joint Pain in Your Shoulder
October 10, 2019Men's Health
15 Last-Minute Gifts Your Husband Will Totally Love 15 Last-Minute Gifts Your Husband Will Totally Love
October 11, 2019Prevention
A simple way to get better sleep A simple way to get better sleep
October 10, 2019MSN
How to make any workout way more fun How to make any workout way more fun
October 10, 2019MSN
These Gentle Facial Cleansers Will Never Leave Sensitive Skin Feeling Dry or Tight These Gentle Facial Cleansers Will Never Leave Sensitive Skin Feeling Dry or Tight
October 11, 2019Prevention
It’s Almost 2020 and There’s a Cassette Tape Shortage It’s Almost 2020 and There’s a Cassette Tape Shortage
October 11, 2019Futurism
This Is the First-Ever Smartphone Made Completely in Africa This Is the First-Ever Smartphone Made Completely in Africa
October 11, 2019Futurism
Researchers Turn CRISPR Into a Virus-Killing Machine Researchers Turn CRISPR Into a Virus-Killing Machine
October 11, 2019Futurism
This Awful Tabloid Predicts a Killer Asteroid Almost Every Day This Awful Tabloid Predicts a Killer Asteroid Almost Every Day
October 11, 2019Futurism
Brain Fog, Mood Swings, and Other Common Signs You’re Entering Menopause Brain Fog, Mood Swings, and Other Common Signs You’re Entering Menopause
October 11, 2019Prevention