Want to have an easier time recalling those summer vacation memories for years to come? Do an intense 20-minute weightlifting workout, suggests a new Georgia Institute of Technology study. The research demonstrated that an intense workout of just 20 minutes can enhance episodic memory (also known as long-term memory for previous events) by about 10 percent in healthy young adults. According to the Georgia Institute of Technology news release, the study kicked off with each participant looking at a series of 90 photos on a computer screen that included positive images (i.e. kids on a water slide), negative ones (mutilated bodies), and neutral (clocks) pictures. Then each participant sat at a leg extension resistance exercise machine with half of the group extending and contracting each leg at their own maximum effort 50 times while a control group sat in the chair and allowed the machine and the study experimenter to move their legs.
Two days later, the participants returned to the lab and glanced through a series of 180 pictures, 90 of the originals along with 90 new photos. According to the news release, the control group remembered about 50 percent of the photos from the first session and those who exercised remembered about 60 percent “The findings are encouraging because they’re consistent with rodent literature that pinpoints exactly the parts of the brain that play a role in stress-induced memory benefits caused by exercise,” said Audrey Duarte, an associate professor in the School of Psychology in the press release.