Running can enhance memory

Whittier Middle School students Jada Tuttle, left, and Victoria Tibbetts run around the school's track with other runners and walkers from the Poland school Thursday. The new school-wide running program is part of a "Couch to 5K" program, in which grant money is being used to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic.

A study at University of Applied Sciences, Upper Austria says that running can help in retaining memory. The stress hormone cortisol is known to have an impact on our memory retention: in some circumstances it helps us remember things, and in others it impairs our memory.

During moderate exercise like running, the body produces more cortisol to keep the body’s systems in balance while it’s under physical stress. It’s this cortisol that could help improve memory. However, further research is needed.

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The researcher asked 60 men of age group 16-29 to memorize a range of information and distributed them in groups. “Our data demonstrates that playing a video game is not helpful for improving learning effects,” scientists said. “Instead it is advisable for youngsters, and most probably for adults too, to do moderate exercise after a learning cycle.”

Kindermann and the team now plan to extend this study and investigate the effects of violent computer games and other post-study activities on long-term memory. The study has been published in Cognitive Systems Research.

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