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Recent research has shown that learning, physical exercises and memory are connected. A team of researchers from the Scotland’s University of Edinburgh and the Netherland’s Radboud University discovered that doing exercises after learning can significantly improve your memory capacity.
Some 72 participants were involved in the study. During the experiment, scientists divided the participants into three groups.
After completing a memory task, people from the first group were asked to exercise immediately on spinning bikes for thirty minutes, whereas the ones from the second group have been invited to do some physical activities after four hours. Last but not least, the people from the third group were not asked to exercise.
After two days, the participants came back to the lab and were asked to take a test. Based on the results, the group who waited four hours before exercising had a 10 percent increase in their performance compared to the other two groups.
Even if the memory boost was not that high, this is still a significant proof that if you correctly time your physical exercises, you can make your memory better. However, further research is needed to establish how much time you need to wait in order to get the best results.
It is also worth mentioning that the first few hours after learning are essential for the new piece of information to settle in your head. By doing physical exercises after four hours, it helps you memorize this new piece of knowledge better. Nevertheless, it is not known yet if a two-hour delay or a longer one would be better or worse for memory.
The new piece of information that a person learns creates memory traces in the brain which can turn into long-term knowledge or just decay and become forgotten in a short notice.
Nevertheless, scientists discovered that the process of physical exercises leads to a high increase in the release of noradrenaline, dopamine and other neurotransmitters which are essential in the course of retaining valuable information.
According to Dr. Guillen Fernandez, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the Radboud University Medical Center, these proteins strengthen the memory traces. Plus, physical exercises are important because they also increase the release of norepinephrine.