Exercise and Memory

We all know the benefits of exercise. It is good for our health and our mood and can serve as a break from the everyday stresses of our lives. Yet many of us still don’t find any time for it day-to-day. Perhaps the latest findings, that exercise benefits our learning and memory capabilities, can finally be the motivation for starting regular exercise.

Scientists have found that the hippocampus, the core of the brain’s learning and memory systems, grows as people get fitter. Moreover, the indirect effect of exercise showed reduced stress and anxiety, two key factors that impair our memory and learning capabilities.

All in all, exercise has a very beneficial effect on our memory and it is also important for young people and adults as learning and memory are keys in nearly everything. Now you would think that this applies to only young people and adults, but studies with the elderly also reached similar conclusions. They showed that regular exercise increased the volume of the areas in the brain responsible for learning and memory systems. Some of these studies even discussed whether regular exercise could postpone dementia, a disease which grows at unprecedented rates in the latter years.

So what type of exercise is regarded the most beneficial for “saving” our memories? The key to all this is to get your heart pumping for about two hours weekly. Not necessarily the kind of heart pumping you get when you run, but the kind of heart pumping you get when walking at a brisk pace. If walking does not excite you, other activities such as swimming or even climbing the stairs could work. Even household activities could suffice, as long as your heart rate rises and you break out in a light sweat. So, go on and jump, run and sweat for your body and mind!

by Mikail Gögenur

Image: 123rf.com [Fabio Berti]