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PLoS One. 2013 May 20;8(5):e64172. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064172. Print 2013.

Physical exercise during encoding improves vocabulary learning in young female adults: a neuroendocrinological study.

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1
Institute of Medical Psychology, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. schmidt-kassow@med.uni-frankfurt.de

Abstract

Acute physical activity has been repeatedly shown to improve various cognitive functions. However, there have been no investigations comparing the effects of exercise during verbal encoding versus exercise prior to encoding on long-term memory performance. In this current psychoneuroendocrinological study we aim to test whether light to moderate ergometric bicycling during vocabulary encoding enhances subsequent recall compared to encoding during physical rest and encoding after being physically active. Furthermore, we examined the kinetics of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in serum which has been previously shown to correlate with learning performance. We also controlled for the BDNF val66met polymorphism. We found better vocabulary test performance for subjects that were physically active during the encoding phase compared to sedentary subjects. Post-hoc tests revealed that this effect was particularly present in initially low performers. BDNF in serum and BDNF genotype failed to account for the current result. Our data indicates that light to moderate simultaneous physical activity during encoding, but not prior to encoding, is beneficial for subsequent recall of new items.

PMID:
23700461
PMCID:
PMC3658977
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0064172
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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