Can Your Work Out Also Improve Your Long-Term Memory?

improve long term memory

Working out has a long list of benefits. From increasing life span to bettering our everyday lives, it is no question that physical activity is necessary to maintain an all-around healthy lifestyle. In addition to helping our health, recent research suggests that working out could also help our studies or work. Some researchers believe that working out for only 20 minutes a day can help give our long-term memory a boost. Let’s find out if the claim is true and, if so, what type of exercise will be the most beneficial to our GPAs. This is especially beneficial for all of you who are heading back to school this Fall.

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There are two major categories of types of memories that the human brain can store: long-term and short-term memories. Short-term memory refers to the amount of time a memory is stored before being forgotten or transferred into long-term memory. Long-term memory, however, is the part of brain in which memories are stored and can be accessed throughout our lifetime.  A website dedicated to information on human memory, The Human Memory, explains that “despite our everyday impressions of forgetting, it seems likely that long-term memory actually decays very little over time, and can store a seemingly unlimited amount of information almost indefinitely.” If our brains can store an infinite amount of information, then there should be no excuse why we can’t memorize the study guide before a test, right? Unfortunately, the mind works in strange ways, so let’s find out how we can help our brain remember the important facts.

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According to The Huffington Post, a 2014 study published on the online journal, Acta Psychological, states that working out for only “20 minutes can boost your long-term memory by around 10 percent.” The study, focusing only on long term memory, included 46 participants. The participants were asked to “try to remember a series of 90 photographs that were shown on a computer screen. Then half of the group worked out on a leg-extension exercise machine—doing 50 reps—while the other half sat in a chair and didn’t exercise,” The Huffington Post explains. After a period of two days, all of the participants were then asked to look at a gathering of the original photographs, plus 90 new ones, to try and remember which photos they had seen before.

It was determined that “the people who exercised remembered around 60 percent of the photos they had seen before, while those who didn’t exercise remembered only around 50 percent,” The Huffington Post concludes.

Verdict: Truth. Research has found that exercise can help to increase long-term memory. The Huffington Post explains that “a brief workout improves memory due to the exercise-induced release of the stress hormone norepinephrine […which…] plays a strong role in memory.” This semester, after studying, go to the gym for a quick work out and see if it helps improve your retention. The next time you work out, you will be improving your body and your GPA!

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What other tricks do you have to improve long term memory?


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