Whether it’s chest, back, or leg day, you’re also unknowingly bulking up your brain power. According to a new study done on mice, a short burst of exercise leads to improved learning.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University discovered that running the human equivalent of just 4,000 steps (about 2 miles) activated key synapses in the brain that primed the body’s most important muscle for learning.

It’s no secret that working out is good for the brain, but OSHU researchers said past studies only focused on the benefits of sustained exercise. This study focused on the benefit of a single session.

“As neuroscientists, it’s not that we don’t care about the benefits on the heart and muscles but we wanted to know the brain-specific benefit of exercise,” Gary Westbrook, M.D., senior scientist at the OHSU Vollum Institute and Dixon Professor of Neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine, said on the school’s website.

The study was conducted on mice that ran a few kilometers for two hours. In those mice, the MTSS1L gene was activated, allowing the brain to better absorb information. The gene wasn’t activated in sedentary mice that weren’t allowed to run in their cages, the scientists said.

In other words, keep hitting the gym. You’ll not only be training your body, but strengthening your mind as well.

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