This Is the Type of Exercise That Has Memory-Boosting Benefits, According to New Research—Here’s How To Try It Yourself

meExercise is not just for the body; it’s also for the mind. Research has long shown that breaking a sweat increases blood flow in brain regions such as the hippocampus, which plays a key role in stress regulation, learning and memory. But aerobic exercise, in particular, improves episodic memory, or memory about personal events and experiences from the past, according to a new meta-analysis published in the journal medical communications. And luckily there is uncountable ways to take advantage of this physical brain activity.

The researchers sought a non-pharmaceutical approach to improving episodic memory in late adulthood, and while their meta-analysis, which looked at 36 studies with a total of 2,750 participants, was by no means conclusive, the study authors found that aerobic exercise positively influences episodic memory.

Fortunately for anyone excited about these findings, it’s simple to start incorporating aerobic exercise into your daily sweat routine, says Cat Kom, CEO and founder of SWEAT onDemand Studio. “Aerobic exercise means you’re moving your body, breathing faster, increasing your blood flow, and raising your heart rate to about 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR),” she says. “This is an activity you can sustain for longer periods of time.” (Think: indoor jogging, swimming, or biking.)

Aerobic exercise is the opposite of anaerobic exercise., which is when you’re working in an oxygen deficit, which means your body can power your effort on oxygen intake alone and has to switch to relying on stored energy fuel reserves. “Anaerobic exercise typically involves shorter, more intense activities that have you working at greater than 80% to 90% of your MHR. True anaerobic activity can usually only be sustained for short bursts of less than 60 seconds. If you’ve ever done a workout where during parts where you were just breathing through your mouth and struggling to catch your breath, you know how it feels,” says Kom. Anaerobic activities include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), sprinting, or weightlifting.

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Both types of exercise they have a place in a full-motion routine, but for the sake of episodic memory, aerobic exercise reigns supreme. And speaking of the benefits of long, sustainable movement patterns, Kom is quick to point out that better memory is just one of the crown jewels of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise also produces feel-good endorphins, protect your immune system, lowers high blood pressure, and more. Ready to enjoy these benefits for yourself? Below, Kom offers a forward aerobic interval training and daily walking regimen to help you start making aerobic strides. (Bonus: no equipment needed.)

Kom Bodyweight Only 30 Minute Aerobic Interval Training

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds in a three-minute round. Rest 30 to 60 seconds between each round. Try this exercise three times a week to start, incorporating strength training on alternate days.

1. Jumping Jacks: Come stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump with your legs while raising your arms above your head so that your body is in an X shape. Bring your legs and arms back together and repeat until the time is up.

2. Burpees: From standing, lower into a squat position. He lowers his hands to the ground and jumps back onto a board. From this position, complete a pushup (option to drop to your knees). Jump back feet forward into your squat, then jump back and stand up. To modify, move your feet back and forth one at a time instead of jumping in and out of planks, and simply press through your heels to stand up.

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3. Squat jumps: Spread your feet hip-width apart and squat down, bringing your hands in front of your chest. Explode straight up into the air, straightening your legs and swinging your arms to your sides. Land softly in a squat and repeat.

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4. Skate jumps: Stand with your feet together. Shift your weight into your left foot and jump your right foot to the right, landing with your knee bent and your left foot in the air, then push off your right foot to jump sideways and land on your left – swing your arms toward your left leg. landing to gain momentum. Keep jumping back and forth until the time runs out.

5. Plank Jacks: Come to plank Draw your navel in towards your spine and jump your feet off your hips, doing your best to keep your hips level as you do so. Bring your legs back together and continue for 30 seconds.

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6. High Knees: Come stand up. Raise your right leg so it’s parallel to your hipbone. Bring it down and quickly repeat with the left. Pick up the pace without breaking your form.

Kom’s weekly walking program that combines anaerobic and aerobic activity

Walking is an excellent low-impact cardiovascular exercise. you can literally do it anywhere and it’s for all fitness levels,” Kom says. “Below is a seven-day walking regimen you can add to your exercise routine. Estimate the intensity level of this workout on a scale of one to ten RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion):

  • 0 to 1: Very light, feels like nothing at all
  • 2 to 3: Mild: Feels like you could be active for hours and carry on a full conversation
  • 4 to 5: Moderate to light work: feels like you can keep going for hours, can say complete sentences
  • 6 to 7: Moderate to Hard: Feels like you can keep up the effort for an hour or two; he is breathing heavily but can still say a complete sentence
  • 8 to 9: difficult to very difficult: the work is uncomfortable
  • 10: Very, very hard – maximum work, can only sustain this effort for a few seconds
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Day 1: Low intensity steady state (LISS) walk—20 minutes

Moderate effort (four to five RPE) on a flat road

As it advances:

  • Add more than 5 minutes each week.
  • Once you can walk for an hour at a time, pick up the pace.

Day 2: Speed ​​interval walking: 23 minutes

  1. Three minute walk, four to five RPE
  2. 30-second brisk walk, eight to nine RPE
  3. One minute brisk walk, RPE 6-7

repeat five times

As it advances:

  • Add one minute to interval one
  • Add 30 seconds to interval two
  • Add 30 seconds to interval three

Day 3: Hill Intervals (for treadmill or if you have access to a steep hill)

  1. Two-minute flat walk at a moderate pace, four or five RPE
  2. Two-minute uphill walk at a brisk pace, six to seven RPE

repeat five times

As it advances:

  • Add time to flat or downhill walking by one or more minutes.
  • Add the intensity of the hill by one or two on the slope

Day 4: Rest

Break! Yes, rest. Rest is an important component of fitness. You can get an active break by doing some light yoga, stretching, or foam rolling,” says Kom.

Day 5: LIS

Repeat day one.

Day 6: Speed ​​interval walking

Repeat day two.

Day 7: Uphill Intervals

Repeat day three.

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