Are there long-term memory drawbacks to exercising?

Stock photo: MGN Online

Doctors know exercise is good for the body and for the mind, but one study says there may be some mental drawbacks to working out.

While there are several studies that show exercise has a positive impact on short-term memory, one study from 2014 actually showed a moderate amount of exercise was bad for long-term memory.

“What they found was that short-term memory improved, but that long-term memory actually went down about the same effect of the short-term memory improving,” said Dr. Kerry Kuehl from Oregon Health & Science University.

Why would that be? The researchers thought it was because the short-term memory actually forced out the long-term memory.

The more you exercise the more short-term neurons you create that fill up your hippocampus, leaving not a lot of room for long-term memory neurons. But there were a couple problems with the study.

“That was done in mice, and that was one study,” said Kuehl. “And it really did lead to other research.”

The same researchers tried to replicate the experiment in rats and it didn’t work; in fact, long-term memory didn’t go down with exercise, it went up.

“The bottom line is we’re not exactly sure what’s going on in a mouse brain, but it’s not the same as in a rat brain, and it’s certainly not the same as in a human brain,” Kuehl said.

He said until more research is done, keep exercising, because it’s too good for your health to pass up.

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