Exercising after Studying may Help you Remember

UNSW research should encourage schools and even nursing homes to consider adopting exercise routines to assist memory.


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Exercise has various benefits to many health benefits, both physically and mentally. Similarly, as a new study by UNSW suggests, the secret to retaining information. This new study suggests that exercising after studying can lead to measurable improvements in memory.

Scientists conducted 4 experiments with 265 participants. They later asked them to perform either five minutes of low-impact step aerobics after learning or no exercise after learning.

Although, the effects varied across experiments. They found that women who performed exercising after studying remembered the material better than those who did not do the exercise.

Study’s first author Dr. Steven Most said, “The effect came into play only after participants had studied the material, meaning that it retroactively boosted learning of the material.”

“But mysteriously, this effect did not emerge among men in any of the experiments. It’s unclear whether this is a true sex difference or whether there was something about the experimental conditions that allowed the effect to emerge among women and not men.”

In three experiments, participants learned to pair male names with male faces. During the test, they have presented with the faces again and had to recall the name that was paired with it.

Comparatively, men showed almost different results if more of the faces were women’s.

Dr. Most said, “It is hard to say if the results can be generalized to students or the elderly.”

The study encourages more physical activity in classrooms and nursing homes.

Dr. Most said, “Some schools are under pressure to cut back on recess in order to increase time in the classroom. It may be that encouraging physical activity breaks at several points during the day can actually help with the retention of classroom learning.”

“More research needs to conclude that with certainty. There is also scope for further study to understand how much exercise is optimal, how long before or after learning is most effective, and who benefits most.”


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