Trying to memorize a work presentation? Preparing for a test? A recent study suggests you may want to exercise 4 hours after studying to boost brain power.
Researchers “used a single session of physical exercise after learning” to see if it boosted long-term memory. Participants were asked to memorize picture-location associations. They were divided into 3 groups:
- 1 group didn’t exercise at all
- 1 group exercised immediately afterwards
- 1 group exercised 4 hours later
All participants returned 48 hours later for a recall test inside a magnetic resonance scanner. Researchers concluded “performing exercise after a delay was associated with increased hippocampal pattern similarity for correct responses during delayed retrieval. 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.”
A review published in Science Direct took a look at the growing body of evidence showing the positive impact of exercise on brain health and function. Researchers also identified 3 areas of exercise/brain research still needed.
- Translating findings from animal behavioral studies, as well as animal studies refined to be more relevant to humans.
- Specifics on how long, how often, and what types of exercise provide functional benefits.
- Identify and target how exercise might act synergistically with pharmaceuticals to boost results over exercise or drugs alone.
Bottom line? Researchers say exercise “represents an exciting lifestyle intervention technique to improve brain plasticity, function and resistance to neurodegenerative diseases”.