Do You Remember More After Swimming?

Do You Remember More After Swimming?

Some people zone out when they do open water swimming. Some people sing songs…over and over again. Some people enjoy the scenery. Other think about work, school or family. But a handful of people study and think about homework as they methodically swim in the open water.

That makes biological sense.

Scientists have proven that exercise positively affects the brain, and that memory is improved after strenuous exercise.

According to researchers in Ireland who tested students after riding at different intensities on a stationary bicycle for 30 minutes, there is a boost in memory due to exercise. Immediately after the workout, the students experienced significantly higher levels of a protein called BDNF that is known to promote the health of nerve cells. This supported the conclusion that mental abilities appear to improve with exercise.

Dr. Ahmad Salehi, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, did a separate study on airline pilots ages 40 to 65. “So many studies have shown that exercise increases levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). The one factor that shows the fastest, most consistent and greatest response [to exercise] is BDNF. It seems to be key to maintaining not just memory but skilled task performance. The evidence is very, very strong that physical activity will increase BDNF levels and improve cognitive health.”

Swimmers and triathletes are smart people. Now we know why.

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