Does Exercise Worsen or Improve Memory?


Exercise is widely considered to be an important part of any healthy lifestyle, but not all routines are created equal when it comes to cognitive performance and memory. Rather, the science is somewhat conflicted at points, and certain types of exercise can actually be detrimental to individuals who suffer from various conditions, including dementia.

Let’s take a look at two studies that provide a wealth of information regarding both the utility and risk of regular exercise, as well as how to adapt the findings to your particular needs, goals and lifestyle.

“Science is somewhat conflicted when it comes to exercise’s impact on cognitive function.”

Aerobics and memory
Heidi Godman, executive editor of the Harvard Health Letter, recently published a post in Harvard Health Publishing in which she broke down some of the findings of a new study that linked aerobic exercise to better memory performance. According to the author, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise helped to increase the total mass of the hippocampus, thus strengthening learning ability, recall and other cognitive functions.

Importantly, she pointed out that the subjects of the study underwent roughly two hours of moderate exercise each week, mostly involving a “brisk walk,” and physical science experts suggest increasing that to about 150 minutes broken down into 30-minute intervals five times per week. The important thing is to maintain a low-impact routine that will not injure or strain joints and muscles, but rather get the heart beating a bit faster

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