A recent study reveals the secret to improving your memory, and it's surprisingly simple.
A team of scientists has offered a new suggestion for improving memory after an intense session of learning. According to a report from Live Science, researchers suggest that exercising approximately four hours after studying can improve your odds of retaining new information.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, shows that people who participated in a high-intensity workout on a stationary bicycle four hours after completing a memory task were more likely to recall information when tested two days later.
Interestingly enough, the study showed that people who worked out immediately after the memory task had a tougher time remembering information that the people who waited for four hours. People who didn’t exercise at all performed worse than the group that waited four hours as well.
According to Dr. Guillen Fernandez, a professor of neuroscience from the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior at the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands and the study’s lead author, delaying exercise after an intense learning session had a “moderate” effect on memory. The findings suggest that exercise changes the way the brain stores new memories.
Scientists report that the people who exercised four hours after learning new information had an average 10 percent improvement in retention compared to those who exercised right after the memory task or didn’t exercise at all.
The study sample included 72 men and women who took a 40-minute memory test that placed objects on different locations on a computer screen. The people who waited four hours before exercising had an easier time recalling where on the screen the objects had appeared.
So why does waiting to exercise improve your ability to recall information? Scientists aren’t sure why, but Dr. Fernandez believes it could have something to do with the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and noradrenaline during exercise. Further research will be needed to establish a more solid link between delaying exercise and memory retention.
A press release from the journal Cell describing the details of the study can be found here.