Exercise and improved memory - Deepstash

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How Neuroscientists Explain the Mind-Clearing Magic of Running

Exercise and improved memory

Neuroscience used to think that our brains got a set amount of neurons. However, studies in animal models show that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan.

Vigorous aerobic exercise - about 30 to 40 minutes - is the only activity that triggers the birth of those new neurons. The new neurons are created in the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, partially explaining the link between aerobic exercise and improvement in memory.

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Running - the miracle drug

Many experts consider exercise to be the closest thing to a miracle drug. Running is one of the simplest ways to exercise. It can lift symptoms of depression and improve your mood. It burns calories, builds strength and improves cardiovascular health.

Knee pain

Knee pain is often a sign of over-training or a need to improve form or flexibility. Running actually seems to improve knee health. Researchers found the more people ran, the less likely the were to suffer knee pain or osteoarthritis.

Running helps young people sleep

Research found that young people that run for 30 minutes, five days a week focus better during the day and sleep better at night.

Walking backwards

Backwards walking (whether real, imaginary, or virtual) can boost your short-term memory. 

To go back in time, it might help to go backwards in space. Moving backwards through space appears to carry the our minds backward along that subjective timeline toward the point at which the remembered information was encoded, thus improving our recall.

Drawing to remember

When we draw something we are forced to consider in more detail and it’s this deeper processing that makes us more likely to remember it.

Even writing a list helps somehow, which is why when you get to the shop and realise you’ve left your shopping list at home, you can still remember more items than if you hadn’t written a list at all. However, doing a drawing takes it one step further.
Exercise, but get the timing right

When you want to learn something in particular, then physical effort does seem to help, at least in the short-term. 

In an experiment, people that did 35 minutes of interval training 4 hours after learning a list of pictures paired with locations were better at remembering the pairs than those who did the interval training straight away.

Exercise Benefits The Brain

Any kind of exercise, be it aerobic, walking or Yoga, changes the brain's composition, structure and the way it operates. The changes that happen to the brain:

  • Brain waves increase
  • Increased sensitivity to surroundings
  • The building of neurotransmitters and increased neuro-connections
  • De-ageing.
Brain Waves increasing

The brain's electric impulses change, and the Beta waves increase during and after exercise, putting it in a better, more alert state.

More Sensitive To The World

Exercise makes our senses sharper and clearer, and we are more perceptive and have better sensitivity to our surroundings.