Moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking, water aerobics or cycling may have the most beneficial effect on memory performance, according to a study which may lead to better tailored exercise recommendations for older people.
The findings, published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, suggested that it is not necessary for people to carry out highly strenuous exercise to achieve observable improvements in long-term memory since moderate exercise can have a more positive influence.
According to the researchers, including those from the University of Kent in the UK, the study could be significant for supporting new approaches to preserve memory in older age, in particular the treatment of patients with memory deficiencies.
They said guidelines for memory enhancement through exercise, based on the current study’s findings, could provide a boost for students in exam settings or even help people with daily tasks such as remembering the items on a shopping list.
Amir-Homayoun Javadi, study co-author from the University of Kent arrived at the conclusions after investigating how varying intensities of exercise, or different types of rest, could directly affect participants’ performances on a recognition memory test.
“Our research indicates that it is not necessary to overexert oneself in order to achieve observable cognitive improvements,” Javadi said.
“If clear guidelines were developed to enhance memory through moderate intensity exercise it could not only help support patients with memory deficiencies, but be useful for initiatives in schools, workplaces and society,” he added