How Working Out Improves Your Memory

Hit the Books on the Treadmill


As a college student familiar with juggling study time and working out during finals, I was thrilled to discover working out can actually improve your memory — but it depends on when and how you exercise. This is by no means a new discovery, and decades of research has proven the connection between physical exertion and improved memory function. Does this mean there’s another benefit tp dragging your butt to the athletic complex on a Saturday when there are no classes?

not going to the gym

A new study published in PLoS One was conducted by the Institute of Medical Psychology of Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. It selected 81 young women who were native German speakers and tested their memories depending on what kind of workout they did, or if they did not exercise at all, and if they studied during or after said workout.

The women were randomly divided into three groups. Each group wore headphones and listened for 30 minutes to a list of paired words — one word in German and its Polish translation. The women were asked to memorize the unfamiliar Polish word.


The three groups all performed different activities while listening. However, the first group sat for 30 minutes in silence before they sat down to listen to the recording. The second group did a light cardio workout, riding a stationary bike gently for 30 minutes while they listened to the list of words. The third group was the only group to exercise while wearing the headphones and listening to the recording. They rode a bicycle at mild intensity for half an hour while listening.


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