According to a new study noted in PloS ONE, researchers at UCLA monitored learning-related brain waves called gamma rhythms in mice found that the waves got stronger as the mice ran faster. Turns out that when we learn, certain chemicals get released into our brains to help speed up the gamma rhythms, and these very same chemicals may also be released when we run.

Previous research has also shown that regular exercise improves your cognitive skills and lowers your risk for age-related mental decline. A 2007 study in Neurobiology of Memory and Learning found that participants learned vocabulary words 20 percent faster after high-intensity exercise.

For dozens of other examples showing how a daily sweat session strengthens your brain, then check out The Aristocracy of Cardio. As for how much of your week you should devote to cardio, target for five 30-minute sessions to boost both your brain and body.