Summary: Aerobic exercise for up to one hour at moderate to high intensity improves memory, attention, and learning for up to two hours.
Just a single exercise workout has positive effects on learning and memory in young adults, according to a recent review of published studies.
The review, which is published in Translational Sports Medicine, included 13 relevant studies. The types of exercise that were studied involved walking, running, and bicycling in individuals between 18 to 35 years of age.
Investigators found that aerobic exercise for 2 minutes to 1 hour at moderate to high intensity improved attention, concentration, and learning and memory functions for up to 2 hours. They noted that the results may have important education-related implications.
“Exercise makes you smart,” said co-author Peter Blomstrand, MD, PhD, of County Hospital Ryhov and Jönköping University, in Sweden.
About this memory research article
Source: Wiley Contacts: Press Office – Wiley Image Source: The image is in the public domain.
Effects of a Single Exercise Workout on Memory and Learning Functions in Young Adults – a Systematic Review
Background Physical exercise improves mental health and cognitive function. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the current literature examining the acute effects of a single exercise workout on learning and memory functions in young adults.
Methods The review was conducted in alignment with the PRISMA guidelines. Studies were included if they were indexed in PubMed, published between 2009 and 2019, used an experimental study design and conducted on young human adults. The MeSH terms “exercise,” “learning,” and “young adults” were used together with the filters Publication dates—10 years; Human Species; and Article types—Clinical Trial.
Results Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria and were evaluated. The types of exercise stimulus that were used was walking, running, or bicycling. Several different test instruments were used such as Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Trail Making Test A and B, and Stroop Color Word Test. Exercise for two minutes to one hour at moderate to high intensity had a favorable effect on learning and memory functions in the selected studies.
Conclusions This systematic review shows that aerobic, physical exercise before encoding improves learning and memory functions in young adults.