Swimming Could Boost Your Memory

Study shows that swimming may enhance cognitive function.

A senior enjoying her swim workout.

(Rido / Shutterstock.com)

Swimming is an incredible form of exercise. Scientists are discovering that it is also good for the brain and even enhances memory. A recent study conducted by the Jordan University of Science and Technology suggests that swimming improves both long and short-term memory.

Be it open water swimming, wild swimming, or a visit to the local pool, this activity helps protect against serious diseases, improves sleep, immunity, as well as cognitive function, according to the study.

Swimming and memory enhancement
This study looked at memory enhancement after swimming by focusing on the hippocampus. Using rats that swam for one hour daily, they tested their memory using a hidden platform in a maze. After just seven days of swimming, researchers observed an improvement in the long-term and short-term memories of the rats.

Although scientists know that swimming is connected to enlarging parts of the brain, they are not exactly sure what the mechanism is, according to this research. They understand that swimming is connected to a muscular contraction that, in turn, stimulates neural growth in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. These compartments are linked to learning and memory and release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF is an important protein that stimulates neuroplasticity, according to The Conversation.  It helps to augment learning and memory and improves cognition. Plus, swimming could be good for mental health as it promotes the release of serotonin which can help reduce depression and anxiety. 

Swimming improves neural pathways
An 2018 study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Physiology also compared the brains of non-swimmers to swimmers. The researchers wrote that  swimmers had improved attention and mental speed when compared to non-swimmers.

And yet a 2020 study, published in Aging, suggested that swimming can stimulate brain pathways. It inhibited inflammatory signaling as well as cell death in rats. This is very positive for the aging brain. 

Swimming is a great activity for all ages, and, as the Jordan University of Science and Technology study on memory enhancement shows, it could be used to help those with neuropsychiatric conditions. Try to make swimming a part of your exercise routine; your body and mind will be stimulated and your memory may also feel refreshed.

Study Shows Working Out Aids the Brain
Swimming Combines Mind and Body for the Best All-around Workout
7 Creative Ways to Move More