This unexpected effect of weightlifting on memory

Published by Cédric - Wednesday, April 17, 2024 - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT
Article author: Cédric DEPOND
Source: Brain and Behaviour

The benefits of exercise on health are well established, but did you know it could also enhance memory? A recent study conducted by researchers from Tohoku University in Japan has revealed that even a single, short, but intense weightlifting session can have a significant impact on memory capacity.

The study involved 60 young adults who were divided into two groups: a training group and a control group. Initially, participants underwent verbal memory recall tests, followed by a single session of high-intensity weightlifting. Two days later, post-intervention memory tests were conducted.

Results showed that participants who underwent the weightlifting session recalled more words than those in the control group. This memory improvement was associated with changes in brain connectivity, specifically enhanced communication between the hippocampus and the parietal and occipital cortexes, key regions for processing sensory information.

But how can this phenomenon be explained? Researchers suggest that intense physical exercise might stimulate the release of proteins that promote the development of new neurons and the preservation of existing ones. This increased neuroplasticity could be responsible for the observed memory enhancement in participants.

Although not all individuals experienced improved memory recall following the weightlifting session, these results nevertheless suggest that resistance training can have beneficial effects on the brain. Thus, in addition to pushing physical limits, weightlifting could also push cognitive boundaries. While previous studies had already suggested the beneficial effects of gentler and more frequent sports activities on the brain, the significant impact of a short weightlifting session is a major discovery.
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