Exercise boosts memory like caffeine

Brisk walks – even as short as 20 minutes – can provide your working memory just as much pep as that morning cup of coffee. In fact, that same recent study showed, that exercise may also reduce the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal like headaches, fatigue and crankiness.

The study, Effects of Caffeine and Acute Aerobic Exercise on Working Memory and Caffeine Withdrawal, was published recently in Nature’s Scientific Reports. Western Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory director Harry Prapavessis, along with graduate student Anisa Morava and former student Matthew Fagan, led the study.

Working memory is the ability to store and manipulate information, in the moment, like remembering items on a grocery list after you’ve driven to the store or recalling how each royal is related to one another on The Crown while binge-watching Season 3.

Caffeine and exercise have been shown to separately improve certain aspects of cognition like attention and alertness, but the two energy boosters had never been compared head-to-head.

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