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Exercise May Strengthen Memory

Update Date: May 02, 2014 05:14 PM EDT
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Strengthen your memory by hitting the gym. New research reveals that aerobic fitness influences long-term memory.

A two-day study of 75 college students revealed that participants who were less fit had a harder time remembering information.

"The findings show that lower-fit individuals lose more memory across time," co-researcher Kimberly Fenn, an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University, said in a news release.

Researchers said the latest study is the first to examine memory in young, healthy adults. Previously, researchers have focused mostly on children, whose brains are still forming and seniors, whose brains are failing.

In the study, students were asked to study related word pairs like "camp" and "trail".  Participants were then tested on the word pairs to determine their long-term memory retention. Researchers explain that long-term memory is anything that has been remembered for more than 30 seconds.

Researchers determined aerobic fitness by measuring oxygen intake derived from a treadmill test. Researchers had accounted for participants' weight, percent body fat, age and sex.

The study revealed that a surprising number of students in the study were significantly out of shape, and compared to fit students, these students scored significantly lower on memory tests.

The findings are published online in the research journal Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience.

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