Study: Climbing Trees Significantly Improves Working Memory

Jacksonville, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — Dynamic activities like climbing a tree could be a simple way to improve your working memory, new research suggests.

Researchers from the University of North Florida found that proprioceptively dynamic activities, meaning activities that require awareness of the position of different body parts and strength to complete movement, are linked to benefits of an individual’s working memory, as reported by Softpedia. These activities could include anything from climbing a tree to balancing on a beam.

Researchers also found that it doesn’t take much time to reap the benefits, as just a few minutes of such activity can produce beneficial effects on working memory.

Researchers evaluated participants between the ages of 18 and 59 while testing their working memory before and after the completion of various dynamic activities. Activities included climbing a tree, walking on narrow beams, running barefoot, and navigating obstacle courses.

The study found that participants experienced a 50 percent improvement in their working memory after completing these exercises while assessing their cognitive skills.

“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,” study leader Ross Alloway said, as reported by Softpedia. He emphasized that by doing physical activity that makes us think, we’re exercising our brains as well.

Those in the medical field say working memory helps humans actively process information, making it easier to perform day-to-day tasks and often increasing performance.

The findings were published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skill.

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