Could Climbing A Tree Improve Your Memory?

First Posted: Jul 30, 2015 11:40 PM EDT

New findings published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills reveal that climbing a tree could be particularly good for your memory.

Researchers at the University of North Florida found that climbing a tree and balancing on a beam helped to dramatically improve working memory, which is linked to performance in a wide variety of contexts.

For the study, researchers recruited adults between the ages of 18 and 59. They tested their memory by having them undertake specific activities in which they were aware of both their body position and orientation, including things like walking, crawling on a beam, running barefoot, navigating obstacles and climbing trees, too.

After two hours, participants were then tested again. Findings revealed that their working memory capacity had increased by about 50 percent.

Two control study groups were assembled in the study--the first being a college class that learned new information in a lecture setting and the second being a yoga class to see static proprioceptive activities that were cognitively beneficial. However, neither control group showed working memory benefits, according to researchers.

"This research suggests that by doing activities that make us think, we can exercise our brains as well as our bodies," Ross Alloway, who led the study, said in a statement. "This research has wide-ranging implications for everyone from kids to adults. By taking a break to do activities that are unpredictable and require us to consciously adapt our movements, we can boost our working memory to perform better in the classroom and the boardroom."

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