This is an interesting fact that many people don’t know about learning how to be a quick thinker: Exercising a few hours after you learn something helps you recall it later.
Part of how to be a quick thinker is being able to internalize new information. Whether that’s a dilemma presented at a meeting, a new course in your workplace, or facts about the quarter sent to your work email, being able to remember the content is essential.
If you want to know how to be a quick thinker, you have to be able to recall all the relevant pieces of information when you make connections. That’s why this study is so exciting.
A Dutch research team did a study on the memory recall of a group of 72 participants. The findings were published in Current Biology.
First, each participant in the study was asked to spend forty minutes on a task related to learning. They were given a great deal of information to absorb and apply in the future.
After this, the participants were divided into three groups. One group didn’t exercise, one exercised immediately, and one exercised four hours after the learning task.
Everyone in the exercise groups participated in the same type of exercise, which involved 35 minutes of intense cardio on an exercise bike.
The participants were tested two days later on how much they’d retained from the learning session. That gave them enough time to encode the material into long-term memory without losing it. The group that waited to exercise had the best performance.
In fact, MRI images were taken of the brain. They showed that people who exercised later had sharper activity patterns in their hippocampus. This part of the brain is vital for memory and learning.
What does that mean? It means that one of the most straightforward solutions for how to be a quick thinker is to exercise a few hours after a learning session. Researchers aren’t sure why this helps, but it may have something to do with the release of endorphins.
Your brain has an easier time encoding information into long-term memory when it’s working with endorphins. Also, exercise causes the body to produce norepinephrine and dopamine, which are brain chemicals that improve memory and emotion.