Can Exercise Improve Your Memory?

Have you ever worried that your memory is starting to get worse? We all have moments of poor memory, but when it starts to become a trend, it can get a little worrisome.

Fear not! Most small losses in memory are due to normal aging that can be slowed and even reversed. How?


Exercise has an incredible impact on the brain that will not only help support your memory, it will also help in other areas, too! Let’s take a look at how exercise can help you stay strong cognitively.


Retains Brain Volume

Part of the reason we lose memory in later adulthood is that the hippocampus (the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system) in the brain begins to shrink.

In a 2011 study, researchers wanted to find out whether exercise would limit this brain matter loss and possibly even increase the size of the hippocampus.

Their findings? For those participants who were exercising regularly, there was not only an increase in the volume of the hippocampus, but also improvements in spatial memory and memory retention.

Reduces Your Risk of Cognitive Decline

Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia are scary, to say the least. Often, these diseases start out with a condition called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).

People with MCI show marked memory loss, but not to the extent that it prevents them from functioning and remaining independent. Since it is a precursor to dementia, there are a lot of studies being done focusing specifically on MCI.

In one such study, the research team followed the memory changes in three groups of women:

1) Those who did resistance training

2) Those who did aerobic training

3) A control group that did neither

After the study, researchers found strong evidence that both aerobic and resistance training could be effective for improving spatial and verbal memory and learning in adults who had MCI.


Improves your Working Memory

Has a doctor ever asked you to count backwards from 100 by 3s or 7s? This is a well-known and effective test of your working memory.

Researchers used this test to determine whether subjects who did strength training improved this facet of their cognitive fitness.

The results showed that, not only did these subjects have better working memory, but the stronger they were, the better they did!

Slows Logical Memory Loss

While trying to assess whether a long-term aerobic exercise program would improve the subjects’ memory, researchers studied two groups of sedentary adults.

The experimental group did a year-long aerobics training program, while the control group didn’t add any physical activity at all.

Although the study didn’t reveal any improvements in memory for the test group, it did show that these individuals did better than the control group on the Logical Memory subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale.

What does that mean? It means that exercise did slow the loss of their logical memory function!


Exercise is Not Just for the Body

Most people think of exercise as something that burns calories and builds strength. While that is true, what is often missed is that exercise is actually first and foremost for your brain.

Memory is just one benefit of exercise, but if you also take into account the positive impact that exercise has on mood, learning, will power, behavior change, and self-confidence, you start to appreciate just how powerful exercise is for your daily wellbeing.

And if you have been holding off on getting started because you don’t know what you are doing, or you don’t think you will be able to do very much, just know that when it comes to the brain, all movement is good.

Next Steps...

When you move, your brain is happy. So whether you are stretching, walking, hiking, weight lifting (even if it is with light weights), doing yoga, or just rolling around on the ground with your grandkids, you are doing something good for your brain.

With that said, there are definitely some exercises that are better than others if you also have the goal of getting stronger, recovering from injury, or trying to burn fat.

If you have some of those goals, that is where we can help.

We design personalized programs so that you get the exact exercises you need to start feeling better, while also having a coach to show you how to do them correctly.

And right now, you can get in on our 28-Day Kickstart Program to see if we are a good fit for you.

In this program you will get:

  • Full fitness and goals assessment
  • Personalized fitness coaching to teach you the exact exercises you need to safely and effectively move better and build stamina
  • A simple meal plan to help you decrease inflammation
  • 1-on-1 success coaching to help guide you as you work to change your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits

Click here to learn more and take back control of your health and fitness today! Mint Condition Fitness empowers people to take control of their fitness and fully enjoy the life they have built.