It can be difficult to jog your memory sometimes, trying to recall something you recently learned or are in the process of learning. Luckily, there may be a way around that, and it involves exercise!
Learning and exercise, if linked, can actually help improve your memory, according to research found in the Cell Press Journal. Jumping into an exercise routine roughly four hours after learning something valuable will boost and improve your memory. There is a specific time window required for this to work effectively.
Our results suggest that appropriately timed physical exercise can improve long-term memory and highlight the potential of exercise as an intervention in educational and clinical settings,” according to the researchers involved.
Testing Exercise and Memory
Guillén Fernández of the Donders Institute at the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands gathered 72 participants for this study. The subjects were given 90 picture-location associations to learn, which took 40 minutes to complete. One-third of the subjects were told to begin exercising immediately after. The second half was instructed to exercise four hours later, and the remaining half was instructed to do nothing at all. Those who were told to exercise were put on an exercise bike for 35 minutes.
According to the results, those who began exercising four hours after learning new information were able to retain that information 48 hours later. These results were better than those of the people who began exercising immediately after, or did not exercise at all.
Why does a delayed reaction have a positive impact on your memory? The researchers involved still haven’t been able to figure that out. Although chemical compounds known as catecholamines, along with norepinephrine and dopamine, have been known to help memory consolidation.
The National Institute on Aging has figured out that your muscles can produce a protein called cathepsin B during your exercise. It triggers neuron growth in the brain. So, exercise doesn’t just help your muscles grow, it also helps your brain grow! If you’re cramming for a test, retaining info for a meeting, or just trying to learn something new; this research may give you the edge you need to hack your exercise an memory!