Library Dissertation Showcase

The acute effect of a single bout of resistance exercise on verbal and visuospatial memory

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

Working memory is the temporary storage of information related to other cognitive tasks. Monitoring working memory performance can indicate the progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), and interventions that preserve working memory may prevent this progression. Enhanced working memory may also improve academic and every-day life performance. Exercise has been found to improve working memory performance, potentially due to increased nutrient availability, BDNF and IGF-1 levels, and arousal control. However, literature in this area is conflicting, and there is a specific lack of research regarding the acute effects of resistance exercise on visuospatial memory. The present study aimed to determine whether a single bout of resistance exercise could acutely improve visuospatial and verbal memory. Fourteen subjects (M age = 22.07 ± 3.41 years), including both males (n = 10) and females (n = 4), completed a crossover design study in which they completed the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) and Corsi Blocks test following either no exercise or a full body resistance exercise session. Visuospatial memory did not significantly differ between exercise and non-exercise conditions (p > .05). Verbal memory performance did significantly improve in the exercise condition (Mdn = 2.00; p > .05). The observed differences conflict with previous research, and may be because the two aspects of working memory are affected by different adaptations, with visuospatial memory only being affected by chronic adaptations. The results suggest different interventions may be needed to facilitate all aspects of working memory. Overall, the present study added to the conflicting research and highlighted the need for further research.

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