Jogging to remember

By Sierra Mision • Published: August 17th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Have your sneakers hit pavement lately? If not, shuffle your feet a little. Break into a jog. A study published in last month’s Neuroscience says it could revamp your memory.

Researchers from Dartmouth College examined the connection between exercise and memory recognition. However, their work didn’t zero in on the brain’s primary memory center, the hippocampus. Instead, the study focused on the effect exercise has on the perirhinal (pear-ee-RHY-null) cortex, the part of the brain that registers and remembers particular objects, like car keys.

Fifty-four adults ranging in age from 18 to 36 participated in the study. All were healthy, but none exercised regularly.

After testing their regular memory recognition, participants were randomly split into two groups. One group would exercise during the next four weeks, and the other group would not.

Those who exercised were instructed to walk or jog for 30 minutes four times a week. When they were retested, they scored higher on the memory exams than those who had not exercised for the last month.

The results coincide with a string of recent studies that say exercise boosts your memory.

A study published last October in Neuroscience offered similar findings. Based in Ireland, the study targeted male college students. All were given a brain-teaser exam. Once results were recorded, half the group hopped on a stationary bicycle and rode for 30 minutes. The other half sat still.

When each group retook the exam, researchers noticed that those on the bikes scored higher than those who sat and did nothing.

Another study published in 2010 found that modest aerobic exercise among older adults reversed normal brain shrinkage and also resulted in improved memory function.

So throw on a pair of sneakers, grab a friend, get up and take a run around the block. Science says you’ll be happy you did.