In addition to boosting endorphins and making you happier, working out may make you smarter. Physical exercise promotes neurogenesis — a process that builds networks in your brain. Exercise can strengthen “executive” cognition — or help the brain to plan, reason and perform other higher-order functions. There is also evidence that exercising may protect against Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury.
If going to the gym or hiking outside doesn’t get you excited, fear not. Staying in bed and having sex can produce some of the same effects. According to a study by Leuner, Glasper, and Gould, published on PLoS ONE, sexual activity also promotes neurogenesis — and, as an added benefit reduces stress and anxiety!