Healthy Lifestyle Choices Linked To Better Working Memory

man running

Memory and Lifestyle Choices Research

Have you ever wondered about the potential link between working memory and physical fitness? Does it just make sense that living a healthy lifestyle helps with mental skills?

Thanks to science, the answers are becoming clearer.

A new study conducted by Mount Sinai researchers discovered a positive relationship between the part of the brain responsible for working memory and lifestyle traits, such as higher physical endurance and better cognitive function.

The research has been published online in Molecular Biology.

What is working memory?

In a nutshell, working memory can be defined as the ability to store and process material connected to the task at hand.

For example, recalling the necessary steps needed to make a specific meal.

More: Reading aloud is good for memory

What researchers learned

The study’s investigators found that improved cardiovascular conditioning and enhanced cognition were connected to greater functioning of the working memory brain network.

Interestingly, certain health habits, like binge drinking and regular smoking, were associated with reduced cohesive working memory.

Using a statistical method known as sparse canonical correlation [see link], the team sought to assess the relationships between the working memory brain map and physical and mental health along with 116 measures of cognitive abilities.

Lifestyle choices were also factored into the equation.

The team discovered that cohesiveness in the working memory brain map was positively correlated with higher physical endurance and better cognitive function.

More: Memory improved with quality sleep

Specific physical traits, including high body mass index, lifestyle choices, regular smoking and binge drinking, had a negative effect on working memory.

“Working memory accounts for individual differences in personal, educational, and professional attainment,” remarked Sophia Frangou, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“Working memory is also one of the brain functions that is severely affected by physical and mental illnesses. Our study identified factors that can either support or undermine the working memory brain network.

Our findings can empower people to make informed choices about how best to promote and preserve brain health.”

Now you have even more reason to hit the gym, reduce alcohol intake and stay away from cigarettes.

Source: Journal of Molecular Biology