Rosemary Donahue
June 17, 2016 10:30 am

It can be really, really hard to memorize new things. Especially if they’re not necessarily things you care about — y’know, like when you’re studying for a test in a subject you don’t really care about, for example. But in a new study published in Current Biology, a new hack has been uncovered that may just increase your odds — and some of us can use all the help we can get.

The study included 72 participants and had them learn “picture-association locations,” which means where an image is in location to another image. In the case of this study, the pictures they used were as follows:

Basically, a beach ball in relation to some dots.

After learning the series of photos, the participants were then split into three groups, all of which performed various levels of exercise. One group didn’t perform any exercise at all, one group exercised right away, and the last group exercised four hours later. The exercise of the groups who did happen to exercise was the same — they hopped on a stationary bike for 35 minutes of interval training at 80% of their maximum heart rate.

It was found that the group that exercised four hours later improved better during memory recall than either of the other groups by 10%. While this may seem like a small percentage, in scientific terms, it’s enough that it means something, and we’ll certainly be trying it out the next time we really need to remember something important.

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