University of Kent research has found that moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking, water aerobics or cycling can have the most beneficial effect on memory performance.
These findings suggest that it is not necessary for people to carry out highly strenuous exercise to achieve observable improvements in long-term memory, as moderate exercise can have a more positive influence.
This study could be significant for supporting new approaches to preserve memory in older age, in particular the treatment of patients with memory deficiencies. Furthermore, guidelines for memory enhancement through exercise could provide a boost for students in exam settings or even help people with daily tasks such as remembering the items on a shopping list.
Dr. Amir-Homayoun Javadi and his research team at the University of Kent concluded these findings after investigating how varying intensities of exercise, or different types of rest, could directly affect participants' performances on a recognition memory test.
Dr. Javadi said:
Our research indicates that it is not necessary to overexert oneself in order to achieve observable cognitive improvements. If clear guidelines were developed to enhance memory through moderate intensity exercise it could not only help support patients with memory deficiencies, but be useful for initiatives in schools, workplaces and society."
Pyke, W., et al. (2020) The effects of different protocols of physical exercise and rest on long-term memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. doi.org/10.1016/j.nlm.2019.107128.