Being fit makes you smarter . . .

Need another reason to get and stay fit--or to improve physical fitness among Missouri's students? Apparently, becoming more physically fit can have a very significant impact on your IQ:
The study shows a clear link between good physical fitness and better results for the IQ test. The strongest links are for logical thinking and verbal comprehension. But it is only fitness that plays a role in the results for the IQ test, and not strength. "Being fit means that you also have good heart and lung capacity and that your brain gets plenty of oxygen," says Michael Nilsson, professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy and chief physician at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. "This may be one of the reasons why we can see a clear link with fitness, but not with muscular strength. We are also seeing that there are growth factors that are important."

By analysing data for twins the researchers have been able to determine that it is primarily environmental factors and not genes that explain the link between fitness and a higher IQ.

"We have also shown that those youngsters who improve their physical fitness between the ages of 15 and 18 increase their cognitive performance," says Maria Åberg, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy and physician at Åby health centre. "This being the case, physical education is a subject that has an important place in schools, and is an absolute must if we want to do well in maths and other theoretical subjects."
Read the ScienceDaily summary of the research here or see the original research paper here.