The next time you’re on your lunch break, take 10 minutes out and engage in some light exercise because your brain will thank you for it.
A recent study reported in The Guardian has found that performing light exercises for just 10 minutes is all it takes to help improve brain activity and memory capacity. This can be stuff like going for a walk or a quick yoga session.
The study was conducted on 36 people and tested their memory capabilities with and without exercise.
“We used very tricky similar items to to see if they would remember whether it was this exact picnic basket versus that picnic basket,” said Michael Yassa, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine, and project co-leader.
The end result was that people who had exercises had a better rate of identifying these objects from memory compared to those that didn’t.
“An evening stroll is sufficient to get some benefit,” said Yassa. However, he clarified that the exact amount of exercise required will vary depending on the individual’s own age, health, and lifestyle.
While it is a small sample size, the researchers are optimistic about the results of this study. Michelle Voss, a neuroscientist at the University of Iowa, says that “The brain regions involved here are also the regions that are thought to play a big role in the deterioration of memory with ageing. […] It would be really exciting to see this type of experiment in older adults.”
Yassa adds that their end goal would be to devise a simple programme that can be used by people in the senior age group in hopes that that can reduce the deterioration of their mental faculties.
“Our main goal is to try to develop an exercise prescription that can be used by older adults who might have disabilities or mobility impairments, but can still adopt a very simple exercise regimen and be able to, perhaps, stave off cognitive decline.”
Looks like you have more of an excuse to leave your desk for a break. And if you’re really feeling up for it, squeeze in a quick 15-minute workout to really maximise your time and gains.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer