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High Intensity Exercise Linked to Improvements in Memory

As we age, many people notice declines in cognitive performance, particularly with memory. A new study has found that high intensity exercise may help improve memory.


Participants in the study included 95 people who underwent one of three interventions for six weeks: exercise training, combined exercise and cognitive training, or no training as a control. All of the participants were given a high-interference memory task at the beginning and end of the study period.


At the conclusion of the study, both the exercise group and the combined group showed better performance on a high-interference memory task, while no changes were noted in the control group. Participants who experienced the greatest fitness gains also experienced greater increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth, function and survival of brain cells.


Researchers from McMaster University conducted the study. It was published in the November 2017 issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.


High-intensity training is a type of exercise that involves rotations of strenuous exercise with less strenuous exercise. Studies suggest that it is an effective way to both lose weight and build muscle. It may also help with bone mineral density in postmenopausal women and improved metabolic health.

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