How exercise intensity affects memory

WWhile scientists have long understood that exercise benefits brain health, it’s not necessarily obvious how This relationship worked until relatively recently. Thanks to new research, just this year, we learned that when your muscles contract during exercise, they release molecules called myokines that stimulate neuron function, and that even a small amount of daily physical activity can protect your brain from cognitive decline. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ and/and/or excitatory biochemical pathways that maintain the functional and structural integrity of neurons,” Arjun V. Masurkar, MD, PhD, Clinical Core Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at NYU Langone, previously said. good + good.

Mind blowing, right?

Adding brain cred: Research published last February showed that aerobic exercise improves episodic memory, and now scientists at Dartmouth College have gone a step further by determining that aerobic (moderate-intensity) exercise improves episodic memory, while anaerobic (or high-intensity) exercise does. Exercise strengthens spatial memory—both of which play an important role in your ability to recall different types of information.

Difference between episodic and spatial memory

Generally, people think that memories fall into one of two categories – long-term (like something that happened in childhood) or short-term (the combo in your gym locker you set an hour ago). But your memory looks a lot like a tree with different branches, and beyond those branches are episodic and spatial memories.

“Episodic memory is remembering events, places you’ve been, people you’ve met, what you had for dinner last night, what you’ve read in a book, etc.,” explains Sarah Kremen, MD, director, Neurobehavior Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. . You can think of it as an autobiographical account of your life.

Spatial memory is more about being able to remember how to get to a place or where to locate a particular item. And just like real tree branches, there is overlap between the two, Dr. Kremen says. Being able to remember where you parked your car and then find it again is an example of what he calls spatial-episodic memory. The ability to remember things chronologically and spatially applies to both long- and short-term memory.

Why you want to keep both your episodic and spatial memory strong

Episodic and spatial memory originate in different parts of the hippocampus, Dr. According to Kremen. “That’s significant because normally, at least in most people, that’s the part of the brain that helps you learn new verbal information or verbal information. [episodic memory] The left hippocampus,” she says. “The part of the brain that helps you learn new spatial information is the right hippocampus.” So it makes you think about growing both “because different types of memory serve different skills and requirements that you need to function in the world around you. ,” explains Dr. Kremen.

If you have trouble remembering events, she says, it’s hard to know what happened in the past and how to navigate the future (for example, if you can’t remember a doctor’s appointment you had or what a doctor told you in the past, then the next doctor is right. (It’s difficult for you to provide information; or if you can’t remember paying a bill, you may pay it twice).

There are many ways to boost your memory—but exercise should be on your short list, according to Dr. Kremen. “We know that exercise is just as important as taking medication prescribed by your doctor, taking care of your mental health or eating a healthy diet,” she says. Ideally, you should do a mix of anaerobic and aerobic exercise each week.

Both types are the best workouts to boost memory

The Dartmouth study used data from the fitness trackers of its subjects, who were asked to perform memory tests. It looked at heart rate metrics to determine the exercise intensity of each participant’s workout for a year.

There isn’t a specific one Type The best workouts to improve episodic or spatial memory, rather, you can do anything that falls into the moderate- or high-intensity range for you. Don’t have a fitness tracker? No problem. You can use the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale to determine your moderate and high intensity levels:

  • 0 to 1: Very light – feels nothing
  • 2 to 3: Light—feels like you can do the activity for hours and maintain a full conversation
  • 4 to 5: Moderate to mild – Feels like you can sustain for hours, speaking complete sentences before pausing for a breath.
  • 6 to 7: Moderate to hard – feels like you can sustain the effort for an hour or two; You are breathing heavily, but can still speak a complete sentence
  • 8 to 9: Difficult to very difficult – work is uncomfortable
  • 10: Very, very hard—Maximum work, can maintain this effort for a few seconds at a time

To count as anaerobic exercise, you need to be working at more than 80 percent of your maximum heart rate (or 8 or higher on the RPE scale), and for aerobic exercise, you’ll want to stick to 50 to 70. The percentage of your maximum heart rate (or 5 to 7 on the RPE scale).

Since both types of exercise are beneficial for brain (and overall) health, try to do some of each each week. In general, you should aim for a mix of 65 percent aerobic exercise and 35 percent anaerobic, says fitness room trainer Ben Lauder-Dykes earlier. good + good. How you want to spend these minutes is up to you.

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