Exercise can boost teenagers' memory

Exercise can markedly affect the brain and the ability to remember, new findings have suggested. Published in the journal Neuroscience, the research found these effects differ depending on the age of the person taking part in the physical activity.

According to the investigation, improved memory through exercising can have a longer lasting impact for adolescents than it does for adults who work their bodies for the same length of time.

David Bucci, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College, noted the results underline the importance of physical activity among young people.

Mr Bucci stated: "The implication is that exercising during development, as your brain is growing, is changing the brain in concert with normal developmental changes."

This results in youngsters having more "permanent wiring" of the brain, which plays a part in factors such as memory and learning, he went on to note.

Dr Estelle Doctor, a Chartered Psychologist, said: "This is fascinating research about a link between memory and exercise, in certain individuals, and under certain conditions.  It should be of interest to secondary school teachers, and it is particularly relevant to adolescents."

She went on to add a word of caution "The results published in Neuroscience indicate that  the benefits of regular exercise (four weeks in this study) seem to be limited to object recognition memory, not memory in general, and also to stress reduction. Furthermore, improvements in memory were only apparent in BDNF Val homozygotes.

"It's hard work though, as exercising only on the day of the test had no effect whatsoever, though to get the effect you also had to exercise on the day of the test.  Interesting too is the finding that these exercise-induced changes in cognition were not correlated with changes in mood/anxiety, suggesting that separate neural systems mediate these effects."