Exercise affects our memory

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For a long time, scientists believed that the human brain in adulthood had a relatively fixed structure and function. But multiple recent experiments and studies have shown to what extent this organ is flexible and capable of reforming itself according to our way of life.

A new study adds to growing evidence that exercise can have rapid effects on brain function. These effects could add up and lead to long-term improvements in our brain function and memory.

Exercise, for example, is known to affect our brain. New research shows that just one moderate workout can immediately change the way our brains work.

American researchers from the University of Maryland have been interested for several years in the long-term effect of physical exercise on the parts of the brain involved in the semantic processing of memory in older people. Of the world and the culture of which we are part. With age, it is usually one of the first forms of memory to disappear.

The brain and muscles

For this new study, published in The Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, the scientists recruited 26 healthy men and women, ages 55 to 85, who did not have severe memory problems. Twice a week, the volunteers cycled for 30 minutes, then settled on a brain scanner and tried to recognize some more or less well-known names. The researchers expected the areas required for semantic memory work to be calmer after exercise.

They were surprised to find that the parts of the brain most involved in semantic memory were much more active after exercise than during moments of rest. So they assumed a kind of analogy with muscles. When you start exercising, your muscles get tired and burn for energy. But as they develop more, they use less energy to exert the same effort.

Scientists also suspect that the increase in brain activity after a first cycling session is the prelude to a remodeling that, through continuous exercise, improves the functioning of these areas. The memory centers of our brain become, in other words, fitter.

The study authors hope they can continue their research to define what form of exercise and how much would be most effective in preserving our memory.

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