Can Exercise Boost Your Memory?

Whenever I invest in a seminar that I really want to learn a lot from, I always do the same thing prior to it. I sprint as hard as I can. Why? I know I will learn 20% more information than if I did'nt sprint.

In 2007 German researchers tested 27 healthy subjects in randomized tests. The researchers tested learning performance in acquiring a new language after high intensity anaerobic sprints, low intensity aerobic running, or a period of rest over the course of 8 months. In addition to monitoring exercise intensity and language retention, the researchers tracked brain-deprived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine)

The researchers discovered that the vocabulary learning was 20 percent faster in the high intensity anaerobic sprints vs. the other two groups. The researchers attributed the improvement in learning to increases in (BDNF) and catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine). The more sustained the BDNF levels were after intense exercise the better the short-term learning success. They also noticed absolute dopamine and epinephrine levels were directly related to better intermediate (dopamine) and long-term (epinephrine) retention of vocabulary.

What I found to be interesting was this program improved results in memory in as little as one week and continued through 8 months. I personally believe this to be true and apply high intensity sprints 1-2x per week to keep my memory sharp. I utilize sprints when I attend seminars, and read books to keep myself the best Personal Trainer I can be.

Whenever I am training a student, I always educate them about the results of the studys. I encourage them to train hard before school in order to increase ability to learn. If my students need to train in the afternoon, I ask them to do their studying immediately following their intense workouts. I remind them that they will improve their learning by 20% if they study while waiting for their parents to pick them up vs. just studying at night. Now they are more efficient with their learning and still have time to enjoy being a kid again.

What are your to do?

High intensity anaerobic sprints are not only great for your physical health, German researchers discovered a dramatic improvement in learning and memory. In as short as 1 week, sprinters were learning faster and had better memory retention than those subjects involved in aerobic exercises and those just not working out. The next time you have a test or even a seminar you really want to learn a lot from, perform sprints before. You will be 20% smarter.

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Steven Zahn

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Pre and Post Partum Certified

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