Cramming for a big exam, or memorizing a Powerpoint for that important board presentation? Take a quick study break and hit the gym, science says.
No, seriously! According to a new study published in the journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, just five minutes of light physical exercise after any learning session can give your memory a boost. (You should also memorize these everyday habits of people with impressive memory.)
Researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, led by Dr. Steven Most, conducted four experiments that included a total of over 250 undergraduate participants. They aimed to test the students’ memories before and after five minutes of exercise.
Through all four of the experiments, an interesting pattern emerged. Researchers noticed that women who performed a mild physical activity after learning something scored higher on memory tests than the women who did not exercise. What’s more, exercise was most effective at boosting memory when participants did so after the learning session. Here’s how you can boost your memory with music and meditation, too.
However, the same trend did not apply to the male participants. Dr. Most speculates that this might have to do with the facial recognition test that the experiments used to score memory levels, which only included male faces. If females respond better to male faces, their reactions might have swayed the results.
“It’s unclear whether this is a true sex difference or whether there was something about the experiment conditions that allowed the effect to emerge among women and not men,” Dr. Most said.
Of course, more research will be needed in the future to determine with certainty that exercise has a positive impact on memory. But this isn’t the first study to make the connection between exercise and memory; in fact, plenty of research indicates that physical activity can reinforce learning. All the more reason to start lacing up your sneakers.
One does not live by physical exercise alone, though. These are the best brain exercises to improve your memory.
[Source: Medical News Today]