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The Perfect Study Session: Read and Then Go For a Run

If you are studying for an exam or an important presentation, you may want to build in some exercise time as it has been shown to improve memory retention.


Researchers with the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria say that moderate exercise such as running or brisk walking can help you remember what you have learned during a study session.

They suspect that cortisol is one of the factors impacting our ability to retain information. Cortisol is released during periods of stress, either physical or emotional. However, the type of stress does seem to make a difference when it comes to memory. Physical stress, such as that coming from a surge in activity, appears to help with memory while emotional stress impairs learning.

Remember also that exercise has been shown in past studies to increase brain volume, particularly in the hippocampus where memories are formed.

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Don’t have time to fit in exercise? Just take a walk outside for some fresh air after a study session. While exercise had a bigger impact on retaining learned information, being outdoors in nature did appear to be better for memory than watching TV or playing a video game.

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Journal Reference:
Harald Kindermann, Andrija Javor, Martin Reuter. Playing counter-strike versus running: The impact of leisure time activities and cortisol on intermediate-term memory in male students. Cognitive Systems Research, 2016; 40: 1 DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsys.2016.01.002

Photo Credit:
By http://www.flickr.com/photos/giovannijl-s_photohut/ Gio JL – via Wikimedia Commons