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Journal Article

Treadmill walking during vocabulary encoding improves verbal long-term memory


Abel,  Cornelius
Scientific Services, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Institute of Medical Psychology, Goethe University, 60528 Frankfurt am Main, Germany;

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Schmidt-Kassow, M., Zink, N., Mock, J., Thiel, C., Vogt, L., Abel, C., et al. (2014). Treadmill walking during vocabulary encoding improves verbal long-term memory. Behavioral and brain functions, 10(1): 24. doi:10.1186/1744-9081-10-24.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0023-DA24-0
Moderate physical activity improves various cognitive functions, particularly when it is applied simultaneously to the cognitive task. In two psychoneuroendocrinological within-subject experiments, we investigated whether very low-intensity motor activity, i.e. walking, during foreign-language vocabulary encoding improves subsequent recall compared to encoding during physical rest. Furthermore, we examined the kinetics of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in serum and salivary cortisol. Previous research has associated both substances with memory performance. In both experiments, subjects performed better when they were motorically active during encoding compared to being sedentary. BDNF in serum was unrelated to memory performance. In contrast we found a positive correlation between salivary cortisol concentration and the number of correctly recalled items. In summary, even very light physical activity during encoding is beneficial for subsequent recall.