Tired of forgetting your keys? Just start lifting some weights. According to a new study by Georgia Tech, lifting weights (or any other type of resistance exercise) for just 20 minutes a day can help boost your memory.
Studies examining the effects of exercise on cognition have focused on two types of exercise: aerobic and resistance exercises. Aerobic exercise (running, bicycling, and swimming) refers to activities that involve large muscle groups and cause your body to increase its oxygen use. Unlike aerobic exercise, resistance exercise does not increase oxygen use. Resistance exercise (weight lifting) improves muscle tone, bone strength, balance, and coordination. Both aerobic and resistance exercises are important for physical health, and both have been linked to cognitive benefits.
The study included 46 participants that were given either active or passive exercise conditions. The active participants were given resistance exercise tasks, while the passive participants did not exercise. After 48 hours, they were given tests which mainly focused on memory.
The results favored the active participants, showing that a single session of resistance exercise performed during consolidation (strengthening or increasing the neural connections involved in a memory) can enhance episodic memory performance.
There are many potential therapeutic benefits of resistance exercise, both physical and cognitive, like the episodic memory benefit we have shown in the study.
For more information, check out the complete study.