It’s true because the New York Times says so. But how do they know?! Rat boot camps, duh.
Researchers from Brazil secured weights to the tails of a group of rats and had them climb a ladder five sessions a week. Other rats on the same schedule ran on a treadmill, and a third group just sat around. After eight weeks, the running rats had much higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (B.D.N.F.), a growth factor that is thought to help spark neurogenesis, than the sedentary rats. So did the rats with weights tied to their tails. The weight-bearing rats, like the runners, did well on tests of rodent learning and memory, like rapidly negotiating a water maze. Both endurance and weight training seemed to make the rats smarter.
So, if we’re following here, dragging weights up stairs will improve our rodent learning and memory… brilliant! We prefer a previous article that emphasizes the compatibility of exercise with binge drinking.