Previous research has shown that exercise can prevent memory loss, especially in later life where the hippocampus volume increased by 2% rather than declining by those doing 40 minute walks a day, 3 days a week. This research suggested regular exercise could help reduce the risk of developing dementia, but just how soon should exercise be carried out after a period of learning for best results?
According to a recent study in Current Biology, exercise should be carried out a few hours after learning rather than immediately after.
The study was carried out by Dutch researchers, testing 72 participants on how much they remembered 2 days after the initial learning. The participants were split into 3 groups where group 1 exercised immediately after the learning process, group 2 exercised 4 hours after the learning process and group 3 performed no exercise.
Group 2 performed best on how much they retained from the learning process, and their MRI scans showed sharper activity patterns in their hippocampus- the part of the brain connected to learning and memory.
This research suggests that for best learning results, specifically timed exercise is beneficial in improving long-term memory, however, it is not yet clear why delayed exercise is better and is being followed up by the research team to better understand this and the ideal time to exercise post-learning.
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