Effects of acute exercise on long-term memory

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2011 Dec;82(4):712-21. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2011.10599808.


In this study, we tested the effect of acute exercise on long-term memory, specifically the timing of exercise relative to the memory challenge. We assessed memory via paragraph recall, in which participants listened to two paragraphs (exposure) and recounted them following a 35-min delay. Participants (n = 48) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: exercise prior to exposure, exercise after exposure, or no-exercise. Exercise consisted of 30 min on a cycle ergometer including 20 min at moderate intensity. Only the exercise prior group recalled significantly more than the control group (p < .05). Differences among the exercise groups failed to reach significance (p = .09). Results indicated that acute exercise positively influenced recall and that exercise timing relative to memory task may have an impact on this effect.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Long-Term / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Young Adult