7

So many people I have heard argue that exercise increases memory.

I know exercise is healthy for your heart but does it really help long term or working memory?

5

Yes, with a caveat.

There are many studies showing beneficial effects of aerobic exercise on cognition, including memory and response tasks. This also includes preventing decline in older adults by preserving hippocampus and temporal lobe size. These can be seen by the following studies involving both humans and rats:

Older adult study

Rats in mazes performance

Memory in preadolescents

However, one thing that was new to me is the effect of resistance exercise, rather than aerobic exercise on cognition. While there isn't much out there examining this mode of exercise, this study on resistance exercise and memory, as well as a couple of cited studies in the same paper, suggest that resistance exercise either does not confer the same cognitive benefits, or that it benefits in other unknown ways.

So in short, yes, aerobic exercise does improve memory and cognition, while resistance exercise may not have the same effect.

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