Can’t Remember? Work Out More!

 | 6 Comments  | Fitness, Health


You know that thing where you go to the grocery store for one item and come home with 20 things that don’t include the one thing you originally went out for? Or when you make plans in the morning to meet someone for lunch and then smack yourself in the forehead when you see all their missed calls around 3 pm after enjoying sushi for one at your desk? Or how about the cold horror that rushes into your stomach when you check your calendar and realize you missed calling your best friend on their birthday?

We all forget things sometimes. Except that song you hate that’s always on the radio. That’s never leaving your brain, haha. But it turns out that regular exercise can possibly help you remember to grab your reusable grocery bags before you leave the house. Researchers have provided some preliminary proof that exercise could possibly be causing new connections in our brains that lead to more memory capabilities.

It’s been established that fitness and memory improvement go hand in hand. A 2013 study conducted by scientists at the University of British Columbia showed that regular physical activity improved verbal and spatial memory in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

But this recent study, conducted on mice, monkeys, and humans and published in the journal Cell Metabolism, takes a closer look at how exercise can improve memory.

When our muscles work they produce (among many other things) a protein called cathepsin B. As muscles produce this protein, levels of it rise in our bloodstreams. The researchers were curious about the role this cathepsin B played in improving memory function, as it’s been associated with cell death and some diseases.

NPR reports, “Experiments showed that blood levels of cathepsin B rose in mice that spent a lot of time on their exercise wheels. What’s more, as levels of the protein rose, the mice did better on a memory test in which they had to swim to a platform hidden just beneath the surface of a small pool.”The NPR article continues, “The team also found evidence that, in mice, cathepsin B was causing the growth of new cells and connections in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is central to memory.”

This also proved to be true with monkeys and humans. In fact, the researchers discovered that the higher the cathepsin B levels were in the human test subjects, the better their memories were. And those high levels were all generated by regular exercise regimens.

Just another great reason to work out every day! If you’re someone who has recently started to exercise regularly, did you notice a bump up in your memory abilities? If so, I’d love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments!

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6 comments on “Can’t Remember? Work Out More!”

  1. private avatar image

    Private  |  Seattle, Washington

    Notes! Copious notes! Went for coffee came home with a bunch of other things from Trader Joe’s…no coffee! Forgot the shopping list at home! Oops! 😀

    • private avatar image

      Private  |  Toronto, Canada

      LOL – Yes, notes are only helpful if you remember to bring them with you :p

      • private avatar image

        Private  |  Seattle, Washington

        That was my joke! 🙂 Notes help, but only if you bring them or can successfully reconstruct them.

  2. private avatar image

    Private  |  Toronto, Canada

    This is really interesting. I didn’t know that muscle produces protein, although I knew muscle needs protein to grow. I haven’t noticed a huge improvement in memory due to exercise alone, although I am able to focus better on tasks. In another blog post on this website I read about the mood enhancing benefits of working out. Exercise was compared to anti-depressants and said to have the same benefits.

    Since reading the article about exercise beating depression, I have been able to control my mood more consistently. It has really changed my experiences day to day! So, now that I know of the memory benefits of working out I will be able to workout strategically before I study for my accounting exams, hehe.

    Looking forward to the brain boost 😀

  3. private avatar image

    Private  |  Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    I´m exercising regularly since the begining of this year and I can confirm an improvement in my memory!, it was something I noticed a time ago but was not sure about it, now that I read this article I can confirm it, it´s great!.

  4. private avatar image

    Private  | 

    Going to the grocery store to buy one thing just to come home with ten more things happens to me a lot. lol

    Great read!

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