Physical activity can be very useful for developing or maintaining memory capacity and, according to a team of researchers who carried out a study published in Nature Scientific Reports, even 20 minutes of fast walking can be as beneficial to memory capacity as a cup of coffee in the morning.
The same study shows that abstinence from caffeine, a type of abstinence that in some people can also cause headaches, fatigue or irritability, can be reduced with exercises such as fast walking or aerobic exercise.
Researchers have analyzed the effects of movement on so-called “working memory,” i.e. the brain’s ability to store information and manipulate it when needed, which is the basis of memory itself and is essential for multiple brain functions.
Several studies have shown the ability of caffeine to improve or maintain working memory at a certain level, as well as other studies have shown that exercise can improve different aspects of cognition related to the same memory.
This study shows more specifically that even a 20-minute fast walk, for example on a treadmill, can have the same beneficial effects as a cup of coffee with results that can be considered equivalent for both regular caffeine users and non-regular consumers.
According to Anisa Morava, who carried out the study together with Matthew Fagan and Harry Prapavessis, from the University of West Ontario, “Healthy people who drink two cups of coffee a day are generally OK in the sense that this will not adversely affect most physiological functions. However, for special populations, caffeine consumption can be problematic and should be limited or reduced.”