You Can Actually Improve Your Memory By Working Out At This Time

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Do you ever have a moment of existential crisis while working out at the gym? You're mid-boxing lesson, beads of sweat streaming down your back and shoulders and, all of a sudden, you can't figure out why you're spending so much time hitting a lifeless bag of sand?

Well, worry no more (but keep punching the bag). New research published in the journal Current Biology shows that if you're exercising at the right time, you may be able to improve your memory.

Plus, you can stick it to all the aunts who have been trying to force you to like crossword puzzles for years (but, honey, they're good for your mind!).

The study examined the brain scans of 72 adults who had been given more than 90 pictures to memorize over the course of 40 minutes.

Then, the group was split into thirds: One group didn't exercise at all, another immediately began a 35-minute workout and a third group waited four hours to rev up their heart rates with high-intensity cardio.

After two days, all the participants took a memory test -- I know, exactly what we all love doing after burning our brains out in spin class -- and underwent subsequent brain scans.

Those who had delayed exercise remembered their lesson 10 percent better than either of the other two groups. Moreover, the memory portion of their brains worked more efficiently during the tests.

The team believes the better memory could be the result of chemicals including dopamine and norepinephrine, which help the brain change and adapt as we learn. They also happen to be released as a result of intense exercise.

While the results seem to prove a connection between memory and time on the treadmill, researchers aren't yet sure of the exact window of time within which the brain saves data better. That's research to be done in the future.

For now, just know you're doing both your body and mind a favor when you head to the gym.

Citations: Want to Remember Something? Workout 4 Hours After Learning to Help Retention (Bioscience Technology)