Improve your fitness, improve your memory.
Just 20 minutes of exercise might be all it takes to improve your memory.
New research has shown that high-intensity exercise may help preserve and improve memory performance.
Researchers from McMaster University in Canada studied the effects of interval training on high-interference memory, which helps us distinguish between objects.
The results showed a link between fitness and cognitive ability.
The study sorted 95 young adults into three groups: exercise training; combined exercise and cognitive training; and a control group who did no training.
The study period ran for six weeks. Researchers noted changes in fitness, memory and neurotrophic factor (which measures changes in neurons).
After the trial period, both exercise groups showed improved memory while the control group did not.
“Improvements in this type of memory from exercise might help to explain the previously established link between aerobic exercise and better academic performance,” said Assistant Professor Jennifer Heisz, lead author of the study.
“At the other end of our lifespan, as we reach our senior years, we might expect to see even greater benefits in individuals with memory impairment brought on by conditions such as dementia.”
In addition, the fitter the participant was after the training, the greater the memory increase.
These results demonstrate that exercise and mental training may work together to improve memory.
This may be good news for an aging population; further research will test whether older adults see the same results.
The study has been published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
Heisz, J.J., et al. (2017.) ‘The Effects of Physical Exercise and Cognitive Training on Memory and Neurotrophic Factors.’ Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Volume 29 | Issue 11 | November 2017. p.1895-1907.
Posted Online September 29, 2017. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01164