“I always have trouble remembering three things: faces, names, and uh –I can’t remember what the third thing is” – Fred Allen
“I have always had a bad memory… as far back as I can remember.” -Lewis Thomas
Let’s be honest… everyone wishes they had a better memory, especially when trying to recall an important item.
You know how that works: You know the information is in your brain… somewhere. You just can’t locate it when you really need it.
Here’s the question: Is there a way to quickly improve your long-term memory… especially before you need it?
Research has uncovered a surprising way to boost your long-term memory by up to 20%. Better still, it only takes a few minutes to improve your results.
The Strange “Memory” Experiment
Researchers put together a clever experiment to test out a theory that resistance training can improve your memory.
First, all participants in the experiment were shown a series of images. The participants were then split into two groups to do leg extensions.
- Group 1 – Did 50 leg extensions using a machine that provided resistance.
- Group 2 – Sat on the chair of a similar leg extension machine, except this one actually did the exercise for them (moving their leg for them). Sorry… but you can’t buy one of these and say you exercised. 😊
Why did they do it this way?
The researchers wanted to have both groups go through an almost identical experience, other than one group having to actually push against the machine.
The Effects on Your Memory
The researchers then waited two days before testing the participant’s memory (to ensure they were using their long-term memory).
Group #2 (that went through the motions of exercising without having to use any effort) was able to correctly identify 50% of the photos they saw two days earlier.
Group #1 (who actually did 50 strenuous leg extensions) were able to identify 60% of the photos.
A 20% boost, just from a few minutes of resistance training.
Now, 20% might not seem like a lot. But, it can definitely give you an edge over your previous self. I’ll take it!
The researchers used saliva samples from the participants to track the levels of neurotransmitters to determine which areas of the brain were affected by the exercise.
The researchers surmised that exercise puts us into a heightened state, after which, memories, especially emotional ones, are more likely to stick.
Dr. Minoru Shinohara, a physiologist and another of the study’s authors concluded:
“We can now try to determine its applicability to other types of memories and the optimal type and amount of resistance exercise in various populations. This includes older adults and individuals with memory impairment.”
How You Can Leverage These Results
1) Regularly do a variety of exercise. It’s well-established that aerobic exercise can enhance your memory. But, now we have learned the value of resistance tr>rove your memory. There are all sorts of reasons why it is good to do a variety of exercise. This is yet one more.
2) Use resistance training pre-event. Before taking part in an event requiring good memory, like a test or a presentation – take a few minutes to do some more strenuous, resistance exercise like pushups, pullups, or squats. Heck, you can even push hard against a wall for 30 seconds to activate the “heightened state” that leads to better recall.
Of course, if you notice your skin turning green and your shirt tearing (and people from Marvel Comics start calling you an incredible hulk), you might want to rethink this technique. 🙂
Your Turn! What have you found to improve your memory and mental clarity?