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Understanding the Impact of Exercise on Memory


Understanding the Impact of Exercise on Memory

Image Source: Svitlana Hulko / Shutterstock

Understanding the Impact of Exercise on Memory

Scientists have long known that exercise is good for brain health, but the specific mechanisms behind this relationship have become clearer due to recent research. When you exercise and your muscles contract, they release molecules called myokines that can enhance neuron function. Even small amounts of daily physical activity can protect your brain from cognitive decline by improving blood flow and stimulating biochemical pathways that support neuron integrity.

Recent studies have revealed that aerobic exercise benefits episodic memory, while anaerobic exercise strengthens spatial memory. Both types of memory play essential roles in recalling different types of information.

Understanding Episodic and Spatial Memory

Episodic memory involves remembering events, places, people, meals, books you’ve read, and more. On the other hand, spatial memory relates to recalling locations or specific items. These two types of memory are interconnected, and they are crucial for both short-term and long-term recollections.

The Importance of Strengthening Episodic and Spatial Memory

Episodic and spatial memory are associated with different parts of the hippocampus in the brain. Strengthening both types of memory is vital for learning new verbal information and spatial details, which are essential for functioning effectively in daily life.

Enhancing memory is crucial for remembering past events, navigating the future, providing accurate information to healthcare providers, and managing day-to-day tasks efficiently. Exercise is just as important as medication adherence, mental health care, and a healthy diet when it comes to boosting memory.

Optimal Workouts to Boost Memory

The intensity of your exercise can impact episodic and spatial memory. It’s recommended to engage in a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercise each week. Aerobic exercise should be at 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, while anaerobic exercise should be at 80 percent or more of your maximum heart rate.

You can determine exercise intensity using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, ranging from very light to very hard. A combination of moderate and high-intensity workouts can be beneficial for brain health. Aim for a balance of 65 percent aerobic and 35 percent anaerobic exercise weekly to promote overall well-being.

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