Your memory can improve with as little as 10 minutes of light exercise. This is great news, since as we age, our memory is likely to deteriorate and become less reliable.
Indeed, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) estimates the Alzheimer’s disease rates will double by the year 2060. Therefore, as the population ages and increases, finding easy ways to reduce cognitive slowing and memory loss are more important than ever.
Memory: The Role Of The Hippocampus
Previous research studies on learning and memory showed that the hippocampus, a brain structure, plays a key role in the formation and storage of short and long term memories. The hippocampus, located in the temporal lobe, is very sensitive to stress and can deteriorate quickly with age. In Alzheimer’s disease, this deterioration is most pronounced.
Several studies have also shown that exercise can improve performance. In addition, adults who are more physically active tend to have increased hippocampal volume. These experiments were carried out over weeks and months.
Recently, however, a team from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Tsukuba in Japan asked whether very short term light exercise for just a few minutes could have the same positive effects.
These researchers ran a study and charted memory-based brain activity in the first few minutes following light exercise.
In this study, 36 healthy young adult participants carried out just 10 minutes of light exercise. The team then used high-resolution functional MRI to measure any changes in brain activity.
The results showed instant brain benefits. MRI brain imaging showed improved connectivity within the hippocampus in areas that involve memory processing and storage.
Most impressive, when the researchers tested the participants using a recall test, this increased brain connectivity correlated with improved performance.
Dr. MichaelYassa, project director, believes that even short walking breaks throughout the day may have considerable positive effects on improving memory and cognition.
So, folks, especially you seniors, get out there and take a 5 minute walk, or any type of light exercise. It’s great for you.