Studies: Doing sports after learning supports memory

Studies: Doing sports after learning supports memory

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A simple trick could help you learn much more effectively in the future
The more we understand how our bodies and brains work, the more we realize that a healthy body often brings benefits to our brains. Researchers have now discovered a powerful way to improve processes in our brain. This means that we can remember things better. Highly intensive physical training a few hours after the learning process makes it easier for us to remember information.

Do you have problems remembering information that you have just learned or read, for example? Then there could be a trick that enables them to learn new facts and information faster and more effectively. Scientists from the Donders Institute at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands have now discovered that there is a method that can help us learn new information more easily. Through intensive physical training after acquiring new knowledge, we are able to store information better. The experts published the results of their study in the journal "Current Biology".

Subjects have to perform memory tests on computers
The new study examined 72 participants. These subjects underwent a memory test. Participants were asked to remember the locations of objects on a computer screen. The doctors then divided the participants into a total of three different groups. A subgroup carried out a 30 minute interval training immediately after the task. The second subgroup did this four hours after the memory test. The third group did no exercise at all, the researchers explain.

Delayed exercises showed the best results
After three days, the participants took the test again. The researchers measured their brain activity with the help of an MRI machine. Subjects who performed the exercises after a delay were able to store a maximum of information compared to the other two groups, the scientists say. When the participants answered the questions correctly, the researchers noticed increased activity in the hippocampus. This part of the brain is linked to learning and memory.

The exercises will strengthen neurotransmitters
According to the researchers, there are many possible reasons for the positive effects of the exercises on the overall health of the brain. The presence of neurotransmitters is strengthened by the exercises and they are involved in memory consolidation, the authors say. Researchers are not yet sure why delaying the exercises affects our brains more. In the future, further examinations will have to clarify whether other forms of exercises or shorter breaks between learning and sport may be more advantageous, the experts explain.

Exercise four hours after learning improves memory performance by ten percent
To increase your chances of learning and remembering new information, you can train four hours after learning, the authors advise. For example, if people trained on a bicycle at high intensity after learning four hours earlier, they could better recall what they had learned. People who did intensive sports after learning new information four hours earlier showed an average improvement in memory performance of around ten percent compared to people who did their sports exercises immediately after learning, the scientists explain.

Exercise immediately after learning does not improve memory
One reason for the improvement in memory performance could be that the exercises can release neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine and these chemicals help the brain to improve its memory performance, the authors suspect. Oddly enough, people who did their exercises right after learning were not really better than the group without exercise. The psychological effects of the training immediately after learning could cause some disturbances between the information studied and the formation of new memories, the doctors suspect.

Physical exercise is clearly able to improve the learning process
Previous research has shown that short exercise can improve our short-term memory. Regular exercise can even increase the size of the hippocampus over time, the researchers say. Newly learned information is transformed into long-term knowledge through a process of stabilizing and integrating memories, the authors explain. This requires certain substances in our brain that are released even during exercise, including dopamine, norepinephrine (norepinephrine) and a growth factor called BDNF. The brain only processes new memories for a while after learning. Physical activity allows these learning processes to be improved, the experts add. (as)

Author and source information

Video: The brain-changing benefits of exercise. Wendy Suzuki (June 2022).