Researchers have found that after only 10 minutes of light exercise, there is enhanced communication between the regions of the brain that store and recall memories.
Scientists from the University of California, Irvine, had 36 healthy volunteers in their early 20s exercise for 10 minutes, doing light activity like yoga or walking. The volunteers then took a memory test, which was repeated later without exercise. The researchers asked 16 of the volunteers to take the test again, with some exercising first and others resting. While studying their brain activity, it was discovered that those who exercised had increased activity between the hippocampus and cortical brain regions, all of which are associated with memory.
The results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the researchers concluded that volunteers who exercised had an easier time distinguishing between different memories. Michael Yassa, a neuroscientist at UCI and project co-leader, told The Guardian that the amount of necessary exercise is dependent on a person's age, mobility level, and other lifestyle factors, and for many, taking a leisurely stroll is enough. Catherine Garcia