20 Minutes of Intensive Exercise Improves Memory Function

20 Minutes of Intensive Exercise Improves Memory Function

Intensive exercise for short period has been associated with health benefits in earlier research projects as well but a new research conducted in Canada suggests memory function improvement with interval training. The research paper published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience claims about boost in memory function with 20 minutes of interval training.

The research was led by Jennifer Heisz, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University.

The study team recruited 95 young individuals for the project. Study subjects underwent 20-minutes daily sessions of interval training for six weeks. Researchers noticed significant improvement in performance of study subjects in a so-called high-interference memory task. Study subjects were divided in three groups. First group underwent physical training and cognitive training. Second group underwent only physical training. The third group was not offered any training.

The team also measured their levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), as well as insulin-like growth factor-1, both before and after the interventions. BDNF promotes the survival, growth, and maintenance of neurons.

Study team noticed higher level of BDNF among individuals who underwent interval training compared to the control group. Their performance was also better in high-interference memory task.

The research paper informed, “The interference memory theory refers to the way in which information that we already know and have memorized may interfere with our ability to learn new material. Good interference memory means that old knowledge works seamlessly with new information, enabling us, for example, to distinguish a new car from our old one, even if they are the same brand and model.”

The research team further informed, "Taken together, the results suggest that the potential for synergistic effects of combining exercise and cognitive training may depend on individual differences in the availability of neurotrophic factors induced by exercise."