Latest News

Can Regular exercise add to big memory boosts

There’s no dearth of reasons for which you should take up a regular exercise routine. From helping you lose weight and get fit to lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other lifestyle diseases, exercise offers tremendous health benefits. Of course, it’s easy to find excuses to not exercise, especially if like me, you are more inclined to read a good book, rather than pump iron at the gym. However, if you aren’t too concerned with your physical prowess and take greater pride in your mental faculties, you may want to rethink your attitude towards exercise and fitness. There’s growing evidence to show that exercise has a direct impact on brain health, promoting improvements in memory and cognitive function.

The Memory Boosting Power of Regular Exercise

Exercise helps boost memory and brain function both directly and indirectly. Some of these benefits can be linked directly to physiological changes brought about through exercise, such as reduced insulin resistance and inflammation, and increased release of growth factors, which are proteins or hormones that stimulate cellular growth. The effects of reduced insulin resistance and inflammation are beneficial, as both insulin resistance and inflammation are linked to degenerative brain disease, dementia, and memory loss, although the relationship is complex. Similarly, the increase in growth factors improves brain health and memory, as these chemical directly affect the development of blood vessels in the brain, as well as the health and growth of brain cells.

Several studies, including one conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, reveal that aerobic exercise is particularly effective at providing a memory boost, apparently increasing the size of the hippocampus itself. This is noteworthy, as this region of the brain is involved in both learning and verbal memory. Other studies also suggest that regular exercise promotes structural changes in the brain that benefit memory and cognitive function. People who exercise tend to have a larger prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex – regions of the brain that are associated with memory and control thinking. Many of these studies highlight the importance of adopting healthy lifestyle habits no matter your age. An increase in volume of these brain regions was observed with regular moderate intensity over the course of just six months to a year.

Exercise also benefits brain function and boost memory indirectly, through its effects on mood, stress levels, anxiety, and sleep. There’s plenty of evidence to show that exercise triggers changes in neurochemical levels, including an increase in neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. This matters when it comes to memory and learning, as stress and anxiety disorders are known to adversely affect cognitive function.

Choosing the Right Exercise to Boost Your Memory

Most of the benefits that have been observed in studies are linked to aerobic exercises like walking. This can include any type of physical activity or exercise that increases your heart rate, such as brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling, and swimming. Aerobic exercises are also often described as cardio because of their cardiovascular conditioning effect. If these physical activities don’t appeal to you, you can also take up moderate intensity activities like playing squash or tennis or dancing. The duration of exercise can also vary, depending on your choice of activity. In one study, for example, participants engaged in brisk walking for an hour just twice a week. In other words, you need at least 120-150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly – about 15-20 minutes a day.

Another study by researchers at the University of California found that just 10 minutes of low intensity physical activity could also suffice as a brain and memory boost. They found that connectivity in regions of the brain that regulate memory formation and retention increased with just short periods of light exercise such as yoga or tai chi. These findings don’t mean that you should rule out high intensity activities. Interval training, which involves a combination of low and high intensity exercise with rest periods, has also been shown to improve memory. If you’re thinking of giving interval training a shot, try to stick with daily sessions that last for at least 20 minutes and combine it with cognitive training exercises for better results.

When it comes to regular exercise and brain function, it should be pointed out that any and all physical activity is likely to benefit you, so try not to procrastinate and delay getting started. It’s also important to watch what you eat, as the quality of nutrition has a significant impact on brain health. The DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and ketogenic diet are some good options, depending on your individual requirements.

To Top

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This