Researchers found that intense exercise may be better for a person's spatial memory, but more moderate activity helped a person's episodic memory (file photo)

More intense activity is not always better for a person’s memory

Intense exercise is not always better! More rigorous trainers have a harder time remembering specific events than those who do more moderate exercises, study finds

  • People who train harder don’t always do better on memory tests despite existing medical literature, new study finds
  • A study found that those who participate in more rigorous exercise have better spatial memory but poorer episodic memory than those who train lightly
  • Any type of exercise is found to be better for a person’s brain than living a sedentary lifestyle, although
  • People who reported suffering from depression or anxiety also performed better on some memory tests than others in the population

More intense exercise isn’t always better for a person’s memory than moderate exercise, according to a new study.

Researchers at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire, found that people who engage in moderate regular activity often have better “episodic” memory than their peers who exercise more rigorously. This means they remember specific events better.

However, performing more intense exercises on a regular basis boosts a person’s spatial memory, allowing them to remember places better. This would make them, for example, more likely to remember where they parked their car.

The results surprised experts, who noted that more intensive exercise is generally thought to correlate with stronger memory and overall brain function. This study highlights that different levels of activity can impact different parts of the brain – and have different impacts as a result.

Researchers found that intense exercise may be better for a person’s spatial memory, but more moderate activity helped a person’s episodic memory (file photo)

The four memory tests included memorizing a matched list of words, watching a short video and answering a short quiz afterwards, studying flashcards that simulated learning a foreign language, and remembering where small objects were placed in a space.

The four memory tests included memorizing a matched list of words, watching a short video and answering a short quiz afterwards, studying flashcards that simulated learning a foreign language, and remembering where small objects were placed in a space.

“Mental health and memory are central to almost everything we do in our daily lives,” Dr. Jeremy Manning, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth, said in a statement.

“Our study attempts to lay the groundwork for understanding how different exercise intensities affect different aspects of mental and cognitive health.”

The researchers, who published their findings last week in Scientific Reports, collected data from 113 FitBit users for the study.

Waking up closer to dawn and staying active throughout the day boosts mood and cognition, study finds

Waking up early and staying consistently active throughout the day can improve a person’s cognition and make them happier, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) found that older adults who woke up before 7 a.m. and engaged in consistent, regular physical activity each day performed better on cognitive tests and reported lower levels of lower depression.

Interestingly, the study found that exercise duration was more important for brain health than intensity. Participants who exercised vigorously for half an hour to an hour each day saw little benefit compared to those who performed light activity such as walking for much of their waking hours.

Although exercise has long been linked to better cognitive function, the study reveals that regular exercise and a more regular schedule may be the most important factor of all when it comes to maintaining cognitive health at advanced age.

“A lot of older adults had robust patterns: they get up before 7 a.m. on average and they keep going; they stay active for about 15 hours a day. They also tend to follow the same pattern day in and day out,” said Dr. Stephen Smagula, assistant professor of psychiatry at UPMC, in a statement.

“Lo, lo and behold, these same adults were happier, less depressed, and had better cognitive function than the other participants.”

Each shared their fitness data – as tracked by the device – from the past year with researchers, took memory tests and completed surveys about their mental health.

The four memory tests included memorizing a matched list of words, watching a short video and answering a short quiz afterwards, studying flashcards that simulated learning a foreign language, and remembering where small objects were placed in a space.

Judging from previous research, the Dartmouth team expected the more intensive exercise group to perform better in all memory types than their peers, but that wasn’t the case.

People whose main exercise in the past year was described as “moderate” performed better than their peers who participated in more excessive training on tests of episodic memory.

Researchers describe episodic memory as the ability to recall autobiographical events, such as explaining what a person did the night before.

Those who participated in more intensive training performed better on spatial memory, which is a person’s ability to remember the location of things.

There was no significant difference in scores on associative memory tests.

However, any exercise is better than no exercise, with active participants testing their overall memory better than their more sedentary counterparts.

The researchers also found that people with anxiety or depression performed better on spatial and associative memory tasks than those without.

“When it comes to physical activity, memory and mental health, there’s a very complicated dynamic at play that can’t be summed up in simple phrases like ‘walking improves your memory’ or ‘stress hurts your memory,” Manning explained.

“Instead, specific forms of physical activity and specific aspects of mental health appear to affect each aspect of memory differently.”

This isn’t the only recent study to find potential benefits of moderate exercise over more intensive workouts for cognitive health.

A study published last week by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that moderate exercise throughout the day was more valuable than short bursts of vigorous physical activity for older adults looking to keep their brains in shape.

Advertising

#intense #activity #persons #memory

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.