Best Exercises to Improve Memory Skills

What are the best exercises to improve memory skills? Should you be jogging, stretching, cycling, walking, swimming, or doing some other activity?  A recent study by researcher Kirsten Hotting, PhD, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Hamburg, Germany, indicates that a combination might be the best way to enhance the benefits of exercise on memory.

Cycling appears to be one of the best exercises to improve memory.

Best Exercises to Improve Memory Skills

Exercise and Memory: Results

The cycling group improved their heart fitness by 15%. The stretching and inactive groups did not have noticeable changes in their fitness.

But both the cycling and the stretching groups did better on the memory test of learning a list of items than the inactive group.

The increase in this test score was linked with an increase in fitness.

The cycling group improved more than the others in the recognition test. It tests long-term retention of learned material.

One surprise finding: The stretching group actually improved more in a test of attention than did the cycling group. In a paper and pencil test, they had to find and mark certain letters quickly.

Hotting didn’t find any noticeable differences in performance for any other thinking skills.

The improvements in memory are useful, she tells WebMD. “In everyday life, learning a list of items is relevant when learning vocabulary, a shopping list, or remembering to-do lists.”

The recognition test reflects an ability to remember learned items for more than a few minutes, she says. “That is relevant for many things you want to remember in everyday life.”

You can read more about how the study was conducted here.

It appears that the best exercises to improve memory skills involve doing a combination of different activities in order to increase blood flow to the brain. What’s good for the body is good for the memory. Tell us about your favorite exercises.

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