Adding to the legion of reasons that exercise is good for your mind and body, a new study reveals that it might actually improve memory function. Researchers in Ireland conducted a study that measured the results of a memory test given to those who’d just worked out and those who hadn’t.
In the test, volunteers were shown a series of names and faces of strangers moving quickly across a screen. One half of the participants would then ride stationary bikes at an intensive pace until they were tired out, while the other group sat and relaxed for 30 minutes. Both groups were then tested again to see who could recall the most name and face pairings. Those who exercised performed better than they did upon their first try at the name game, while those who rested performed worse across the board.
Those analyzing the study realized that the common thread between those who worked out was an elevated level of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Those who rested showed no change in BDNF levels.
A similar study conducted with aging rats in Brazil showed that having the test subjects run also increased BDNF levels and correspondingly improved memory. And scientists at UCLA performed similar trials to conclude the same results with adult rats.
Currently, there’s speculation as to whether these results with older or geriatric rats might translate to the common memory associated with elderly humans and their common memory decline. Regardless of exercise, many additional studies have already concluded that higher levels of BDNF assist with task performance – and once the tie to exercise increasing BDNF is solidified, it’s a short leap to exercise improving a wide variety of mental and physical skills. Encouraging adults and seniors especially to work out on a regular basis will not only keep them active and healthy, it can help improve their overall cognizance and quality of life.
Are you interested in getting your parent – or even grandparent – involved in regular exercise at our Greenville gym? Contact us or stop by and we’d be happy to go over the types of classes and equipment at Pivotal Fitness Greenville sports club that are most suitable for older adults.