|Photo credit: Racingitoff.blogspot.com|
An article in the New York Times today (Exercise and the Ever-Smarter Human Brain) discussed studies on the evolution of human physical ability and brain development, and how they are believed to be linked. The researchers posit that the ability to perform endurance athletics such as long-distance running developed alongside advances in mental acuity. In other words, humans evolved to be smarter animals as they evolved the ability to run.
The researchers continue, stating that it stands to reason that exercise has positive effects on mental function, even in immediate, not evolutionary, timeframes. I.E. running makes you smarter.
Don't take my word for it; read the article for yourself here.