A new study from Radboud University has linked
the possibility of exercise improving memory. We’ve all heard in some form or another that
exercise can help us do better in academics, so is this study the link we’ve been waiting
for? In the study, we have 72 participants, 3 different
group: Immediate exercise, delayed exercise, and a control group.
All 72 looked at images like this and studied the object’s location, for 90 different objects.
Right after, they take a baseline test, to see how much they remember. All did pretty
well, scoring between 80-85%. Good job guys. After, they all then went to do different
things. Immediate exercise group, well immediately
exercised, doing interval training on a cycling machine alternating between 4 minutes of high
intensity and 3 minutes of low intensity for a total of 35 minutes. After, they went and
sat in a room and watch cool nature documentaries for roughly 4 hours.
The delayed exercise group did the same thing, only in reverse, first watching cute alligators
chomping cute buffalos for four hours and then doing the same exercise.
The control group, well, just sat there for the entire time watching… more nature documentaries.
Butterflies, butterflies everywhere. Two days later, they all come back and take
the same test to see how much they remember. And lo and behold, the delayed exercise group
did better by… 5%. Still statically significant in terms of science research. Hey, if 5% on
a test is the difference between passing or failing your class, then it’s definitely worth
it! The researchers suggested that the improvement
was due to releases of substances such as dopamine and noradrenaline, which help increase
neural plasticity. But what about the immediate exercise group? Well, researchers say, yea,
same thing might be happening but at that point, your brain is already optimal for neural
plasticity and the exercise-induced substances aren’t going to make much difference.
So great, everything sounds prettty good, so let’s start exercising four hours after
each study session! Well, the research isn’t perfectly reliable just yet.
One, there weren’t any measures of changes in dopamine, noradrenaline, or other substances,
so they don’t know FOR SURE if that’s what increased memory retention. And looking at
the graphs, even though both groups did the same exercise, based on a 1-10 RPE rating,
where participants rate their exhaustion from a scale of 1 being fine to 10 being completely
exhausted, the delayed group had a considerably higher exhaustion rating than the immediate
group. Researchers said that, ehh maybe it was because they were sitting around for so
long and then the quick transition was more difficult, but it’s important to note that
maybe intensity is a more important than delayed exercise, per se. And one more thing, who’s
to say that maybe a 2 or even 6 hour delay is better than 4? The researchers don’t know
for sure, and most of limitations of the research is actually mentioned by the researchers themselves.
Regardless, there is still some sort of connection between exercise and memory, we just don’t
know for sure what that is. That being said, go out there and exercise anyway and maybe
that will help you change that B+ test to an A!… minus.
Have any other current research you like to share? Leave it in the comments! Thanks for