An intense 20-minute workout can enhance long-term memory in young adults by 10% - new study


Perhaps you now have more reason to hit the gym. A new study has found that an intense workout of as little as 20 minutes can enhance long-term memory by up to 10% in young adults.

Although the study, which was published in the Acta Psychological journal, used weight exercises, the researchers in the study said that resistance exercises such as squats or knee bends would probably produce the same results.

The study began with everyone looking at a series of 90 photos on a computer screen. The photos were evenly distributed between positive (babies on a waterslide), negative (mutilated bodies) and neutral (clocks).

Participants were not asked to remember the photos.

Everyone then sat at a leg extension resistance exercise machine. Half of them extended and contracted each leg at their personal maximum effort 50times.

The control group simply sat in the chair and allowed the machine and the experimenter to move their legs.

Throughout the process, each participant’s blood pressure and heart rate were monitored.

Every person also contributed saliva samples so that the team can detect levels of neurotransmitter markers linked to stress.

The participants returned to the lab 48 hours later and saw a series of 180 photos – 90 being the original photos and 90 new ones.

The control group recalled about 50% of the photos from the first session.

Those who exercised remembered about 60%.