Resolution Ready: Brain Training in conjunction with Physical Training Aids Memory

From The New York Times

A recent NY Times article discussed a study examining how exercise may enhance the effects of brain training.

Exercise broadly improves our memories and thinking skills, according to a wealth of science.

The evidence supporting similar benefits from so-called brain training has been much iffier, however, with most people performing better only on the specific types of games or tasks practiced in the program.

But an interesting new study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience suggests that combining intense exercise and brain training might, over time, amplify the benefits of both for the brain, even in people whose minds already are working well…

… To find out, the researchers decided to study a group of healthy, young college students, a group that would be expected to have robust and vigorous memories. If an experimental program resulted in better memories in these people, the scientists reasoned, it should also have implications for those of us whose aging memories might be starting to stutter and fade…

… In general, the young people who had exercised, whether they also brain trained or not, were then more physically fit than those in the control group. They also, for the most part, performed better on memory tests. And those improvements spanned different types of memory, including the ability to rapidly differentiate among pictures of objects that looked similar, a skill not practiced in the brain-training group.

These enhancements in memory were most striking among the volunteers whose fitness had also improved the most, especially if they also practiced brain training.

In effect, more fitness resulted in stronger memories, Dr. Heisz says, with the brain training adding to that effect, even for a type of memory that was not part of the training.

Read the full article (link)

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