Here’s another reason to care about your health: A new study has shown that teenage boys with better cardiovascular health make smarter and successful adults. The study, conducted by Nancy Pedersen of the University of Southern California and colleagues in Sweden, showed that better cardiovascular health among teenage boys correlates to higher scores on a range of intelligence tests — and more education and income later in life. However, scores on intelligence tests did not increase along with muscle strength, the researchers found. “The study supports the notion that aerobic exercise improved cognition through the circulatory system influencing brain plasticity,” Pedersen said.

The results also showed the importance of getting healthier between the ages of 15 and 18 while the brain is still changing. Boys who improved their cardiovascular health between these ages exhibited greater intelligence scores than those who became less healthy over the same time period.

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