Sharpen your learning with a short, sharp fang on the bike

The link between vigorous exercise and a healthy brain has once again been confirmed by medical research.

In the latest study researchers looked at whether acute, high-intensity exercise could benefit memory.

And yes, it did. Motor sequence learning was significantly enhanced by just a 15 minute burst on a bike.

The benefits to memory of medium intensity exercise has long been recognised and has been previously reported by Bicycle Network.

The previous studies have shown that the brain reacts to exercise in various ways that boost memory, for example, associative memory — useful when studying for exams.

This trial studied motor sequence learning — the type that is useful when you are trying to learn all the fancy tricks on the keyboard of your new iPhone.

Subjects were placed on an exercise bike and cycled at both medium intensity, and high intensity — 80 per cent of maximal heart rate.

Their motor sequence memory was tested, along with medical tests including blood components and MRI.

The research team from Geneva found that acute exercise improved memory significantly while medium intensity exercise did have some value.

They found that the exercise boosted and blood component anandamide (AEA), an endocannabinoid known to promote hippocampal plasticity. Functional MRI confirmed that the relevant parts of the brain were also lighting up.

So riders, stop complaining about hills! Get the heart rate up. Soon you will be teaching your children how to use the remote control.

You can read the full study here.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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