The Relationship Between Exercise And Memory Retention.


A single, medium-intensity workout may immediately alter how our brains function and how effectively we can recognize common names and comparable information, according to a new study on exercise and memory. The study contributes to mounting evidence that exercise can have speedy effects on brain function and that these effects can accrue and lead to long-term improvements in how our minds operate and retain information.
Until recently, researchers believed that by adulthood, human brains were fixed in structure and function, particularly when likened to malleable tissues, like muscle, which of course continually grow and wither in response to our lifestyles. But several, newer trials have shown that adult brains can be quite malleable, rewiring themselves in innumerable ways, depending on our lifestyles. 
Physical activity, for example, is known to have an affect on our minds. In animal experiments, an increase in exercise has a parallel effect on the production of neurochemicals and the volume of new neurons in adult brains and expands the animals’ thinking capabilities. In people, experiments show that consistent exercise over time increases the size of the hippocampus, a key part of the mind’s memory creation and retention networks. It also improves many aspects of people’s thinking. But considerable questions remain about exercise and the brain, particularly whether these effects are short-term or, with sustained training, become long-term.
That specific question fascinated scientists at the University of Maryland, who decided to conduct a study on the relationship between exercise and semantic-memory processing. Semantic memory refers to common knowledge and knowledge of the world, does not include personal experiences and is one of the first forms of memory to fade. 
The researchers recruited 26 healthy men and women who had no notable memory problems and were all between the ages of 55 and 85. These recruits were then asked to do medium-intensity exercises for 30 minutes before being placed under an MRI scanner and being subject to mental exercises designed to test their semantic memory. They then compared these results with another set of recruits that had already been doing these exercises for weeks. 
The scientists found that the areas of the brain most associated with semantic memory were far more active in the new recruits when compared to the established recruits who had been exercising for weeks. The researchers suspect that, in the same way muscle tissue can be “remodeled” and enhanced, so can brain tissue.
Our mind’s semantic memory centers become, for lack of a better word, "more fit".