In the study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, researchers found that as few as six weeks of intense exercise (20-minute HIIT sessions) made a big positive impact on the 95 participants’ memory skills. Most notably their high-interference memory—i.e., the kind that allows people to distinguish their sneakers from similar kicks in that post-yoga-class rush, for example.
Researchers found that as little as six weeks of intense exercise (20-minute HIIT sessions) made a big positive impact on the 95 participants’ memory skills.
Participants experienced an increase in the protein that helps brain cells grow, operate, and survive. (It’s called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF). And while this is good news for your brain now, it could also be helpful in the future—especially since the long-term memory function that BDNF supports gets weaker with age.
“As we reach our senior years, we might expect to see even greater benefits [of HIIT workouts] in individuals with memory impairment brought on by conditions such as dementia,” said lead study author Jennifer Heisz, PhD, in a press release.