Crossword puzzles and word searchers do wonders for your brain, but according to a new study featured on, physical exercise, specifically running, may give you a mental boost as well.

Researchers from the Bartlett laboratory at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute have found that exercise increases the production of brain cells that create new nerve endings, effectively reversing the normal cognitive decline due to aging.

Based on laboratory tests, the researchers found that the isolated Growth Hormone (GH) actively stimulates the brain and creates new neural stems cells when an individual runs or exercises.

"In this model of aging we found that the number of active neural stem cells dramatically declines with age, but exercise dramatically reversed this, increasing stem cell numbers," team leader and QBI Director Perry Bartlett explains further.

Of course, there’s no need to wait until you’re years older to start running. Gear up and set aside time for exercise while you still can, but make sure that you don't overexert your body as well. You can try checking out our article on tips for newbie runners if you’re just starting out. Having a healthy diet when you exercise is a must; check out this article on eating right without feeling deprived that you can refer to.

(Photo by tvnewsbadge via Flickr Creative Commons)

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