A study conducted at Georgia Tech claims that lifting weights can improve long-term memory. Researchers believe that an intense lifting session of only 20 minutes can boost episodic memory by some 10 percent in young healthy adults.

Participants in the study were divided into two groups. Each group looked at 90 images on a computer, a mix of positive images (picnic photos) negative (maimed human bodies) and neutral shots.

One group looked at the photos while doing leg extensions, 50 reps of the participants’ personal best. The other group either sat in automated chairs that did the lifting, or the researcher moved the weight. Study participants were not requested to memorize the images, and their heart rate and blood pressure were recorded during the process.

Two days after this test, both groups came back in and this time looked at the same 90 images mixed up with 90 new ones. According to the researchers, those who lifted were able to remember 60 percent of the original photos, while those who did not remembered 50 percent.

“The findings are encouraging because they are consistent with rodent literature that pinpoints exactly the parts of the brain that play a role in stress-induced memory benefits caused by exercise” says Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Georgia Tech, Audrey Duarte. The study was recently published in Acta Psychologica. Check out this report: