In a day and age when fitness marketing seemingly greets us at every turn, the list of benefits that accompany regular exercise can often read like a litany. While the usual suspects ought to warrant enthusiasm and motivation, the constant repetition can make them grow stale in our minds. Still, it is important to recall these benefits in order to foster the motivation necessary to stay fit.
Arguably one of the most often underappreciated perks of an active lifestyle is a boosted memory. Suffice to say, regular exercise habits improve heart health and brain function on the whole by stimulating proper blood flow and release of endorphins. Simply put, exercise makes for a healthy body, a healthy body begets a higher functioning brain, and a high-functioning brain leads to a sharper, stronger memory.
Just how much daily exercise time is required to tap into this memory enhancement, though? Here’s a hint: it is less than the amount of time it takes to preheat your oven for a tray of brownies—or sweet potatoes, if it’s not cheat day.
Memory improvement awaits those willing to put in just ten minutes of exercise a day, according to a recent study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Tiffany Jeung summarized the report for Inverse.com, writing:
The brain experiences “increased connectivity” in the hippocampus just from these minimal efforts, study authors Michael Yassa, Ph.D., a neurobiologist at the University of California Irvine, and Hideaki Soya of the Faculty of Health and Sports Sciences at the University of Tsukuba, found. The 10-minute difference on an exercise bike made a world of a difference on brain scans, as there was an increase in neuron signals, which was correlated to better performance on a memory task.
A moment of reflection should lead to consideration of the numerous ways to implement ten minutes of exercise into each day, without disrupting the rhythms and responsibilities of daily life. A light jog around the block should get the job done, as would taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
Odds are, ten minutes will evolve into 15 or 20 without much effort and soon enough half an hour of exercise each day no longer appears the insurmountable task it once seemed. Of course, it should be much easier to remember as well!