A walk down memory lane

I constantly hear people say that they can’t find the time to exercise. And this is especially true during the hectic holiday season.

But a new study shows that devoting even six minutes of your day to exercise could help your holiday memories last that much longer.

Researchers from the University of California recently studied more than 50 adults over the age of 50. Half of these subjects had impaired memory, while the other half were mentally healthy.

The researchers divided the subjects into two groups. One group exercised on a stationary bike at 70 percent capacity for six minutes. The other group didn’t.

Both groups provided saliva samples. And all subjects sat down to a surprise memory test within an hour after the exercise portion of the study was complete.

Turns out, all of the members of the exercising group demonstrated better recall ability. And this boost was particularly noticeable among subjects with memory deficits. In fact, this set’s recall ability practically doubled.

Based on saliva tests, the researchers believe that a surge in norepinephrine–one of the chemicals that your body generates during exercise–might be responsible for these brain benefits. But regardless of the mechanism, the takeaway is clear.

This study is solid proof, once again, that even the smallest commitment–like that daily 15 minute walk I always remind you about–could have a major impact. And not just on your memory, but on your whole body’s health.

Sure, there’s shopping to do and parties to attend. But if you’ve got time to read this, you’ve got time to exercise. Simple as that.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays, whatever yours might be…


Sifferlin, Alexandra. “Even brief exercise can improve memory in older adults.” Time. 27 Nov. 2012.