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Staying in shape may improve your memory

Clearly staying in shape makes you feel good and is good for weight control, blood pressure control, and cardiovascular health. Staying in shape may also have a positive effect on long-term memory reports Michigan State University on May 2, 2014. Researchers at Michigan State University found that students who were less fit had a harder time retaining information.

Jogging to stay in shape
Morguefile/Freephoto

Kimberly Fenn, study co-author and assistant professor of psychology, has said that the findings from this study show that lower-fit people lose more of their memory across time. In the study 75 college students were tested during a two-day period for retention of information. This study is one of the first to investigate young, supposedly healthy adults. Prior research dealing with fitness and memory has focused primarily on children, whose brains are still developing, and on the elderly, whose memories are in the process of declining.

In this study participants studied were asked to relate word pairs such as “camp” and “trail.” The following day they were tested on the word pairs in order to evaluate long-term memory retention. Long-term memory is considered anything remembered from more than about 30 seconds ago. Aerobic fitness was measured by oxygen consumption which was derived from a treadmill test and factored with the participants’ weight, percent body fat, age and sex.

The findings of this study help to highlight the problem of increasingly sedentary lifestyles which are found in the United States and other western cultures. A significant number of the college students in this study were found to be markedly out of shape and did much worse at retaining information than those students who were extremely fit.

The study has been published online in the research journal Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience. The findings in this study revealed there is an association between aerobic fitness and memory function of a nature that people with lower cardiorespiratory fitness showed poorer implicit memory performance and poorer long-term memory retention. It has been indicated by the data that cardiorespiratory fitness may be important for the optimal function of neural networks which are underlying these memory systems. Clearly, staying in shape is therefore highly advisable to help you maintain good health in body and mind.