Hear me now and believe me later: you can give your memory a lift by lifting weights. So says a Georgia Institute of Technology study released this week that shows working out for as little as 20 minutes can improve a person’s long-term memory.
“Our study indicates that people don’t have to dedicate large amounts of time to give their brain a boost,” said Lisa Weinberg, a Georgia Tech graduate student who led the project.
Previous research has shown how aerobic exercise can improve memory. This study took a new approach. Participants lifted weights just once two days before being tested, and the researchers had the participants answer questions before a workout rather than after one. And even though weight lifting was used, Weinberg said that other resistance activities (e.g., knee bends) may produce the same results.
The reason lifting weights helps improve memory is due to acute stress responses, the researchers suggest.
“Even without doing expensive fMRI scans, our results give us an idea of what areas of the brain might be supporting these exercise-induced memory benefits,” said Audrey Duarte, an associate professor in the School of Psychology at Georgia Tech. “The findings are encouraging because they are consistent with rodent literature that pinpoints exactly the parts of the brain that play a role in stress-induced memory benefits caused by exercise.”
Watch Weinberg explain the study and its results in the video below, and then hit the gym.
(Image: Saturday Night Live/NBC)