Aerobic Fitness Makes Teens Smarter

Sunday, September 09, 2012
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

A Swedish study evaluating the fitness and IQ1 of 1.2 million 18 year olds found that those who had better aerobic fitness between the ages of 15-18 had significantly higher IQ’s at age 18.  They were also more likely to go on to be successful in terms of education and income.  The study also evaluated twins; results showed that their IQ’s were far more associated with fitness than genes. 

Aerobic fitness improves the flow of blood to your brain, thus enabling nutrients and oxygen to arrive at higher levels.  New science also shows that aerobic exercise stimulates the production of a natural protein, BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), in turn making new brain cells and new brain cell connections.

There is a higher level of potential brain plasticity throughout all of childhood and even into you adulthood.  Aerobic fitness, good nutrition, and problem solving skills are the keys to help any person have a better chance for success.

The authors concluded, “The data substantiate that physical exercise could be an important instrument for public health initiatives to optimize educational achievements, and cognitive performance, as well as disease prevention at the society level.”


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Aerobic Fitness and Teenage Intelligence  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Maria A. I. Åberga, Nancy L. Pedersen, Kjell Toréne, Magnus Svartengrenf, Björn Bäckstrandg, Tommy Johnssonh, Christiana M. Cooper-Kuhna, N. David Åberga, Michael Nilssona, and H. Georg Kuhna.

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