The more you swim, bike or run the more you remember: Aerobic exercise boosts memory new study finds
Posted Feb 01 2011 12:23pm
A new study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms what some have suggested: that people who exercise on a regular basic boost their memory. The study found that as people age their hippocampus shrinks, unless they exercise on a regular basis, in which case the study reports that the hippocampus actually increased in size.
The hippocampus is the memory center of the brain.
"In the study, 60 adults aged 55 to 80 scaled up gradually until they walked for 40 minutes three times a week, enough to get their heart rates up. Sixty other participants did toning workouts that included weight training, yoga sessions and stretching for the same amount of time.
After a year of toning, a part of these subjects’ brains called the anterior hippocampus lost a little over 1 percent of its volume. In contrast, a year of aerobic exercise led to about a 2 percent increase in anterior hippocampus volume."
“You can think of this as not maintaining memory, but improving memory in this group—essentially turning back the clock and pushing these individuals back up their own personal trajectory by about two years,” says study coauthor Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Although it used to be thought that aging was a one-way street that was going the wrong direction, we know from our work and other work that that’s not the case.”