Want to Jog Your Memory? Break a Sweat

Woman sweating workout

Memory bank all filled up? Forgetting names, dates and where you stashed those extra paper towels? There’s something simple that may help. Just lace up your sneakers.

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Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that a brief workout can do wonders for your long-term memory. After looking at a group of pictures, participants in a recent study were directed to do 20 minutes of resistance or strength training exercises, taking a break every few minutes. They were then asked to recall details of the images they’d seen.

The result? Exercising immediately after studying the pictures helped increase their memory of those images by 10 percent — even up to 48 hours later.

Experts say exercise puts some stress on your body, releasing hormones like cortisol and epinephrine into your bloodstream. And as it turns out, those hormones play an important role in memory retention.


Scientists already knew that aerobic exercise, like running and cycling, helps your memory powers, but vigorous workouts aren’t for everyone. In this study, they found the same positive effects with strength training movements, like leg lifts.

To find out more about the research and ways exercise helps your memory, activate your access to AARP Staying Sharp today! It’s easy to enroll and is included with your AARP membership.

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