Exercise has all kinds of benefits outside of the obvious. That includes boosts to learning and memory. When the best time to exercise to maximise those learning benefits remains something of a mystery, but as The New York Times points out, we're starting to get a better understanding.
After several studies, researchers found that the time and intensity of a workout affected the brain's ability to take in new information. This meant memories were formed easier, and learning was enhanced at certain times. The lesson here is pretty simple:
For now, though, there is some practical takeaway from the current studies, said Walter Bixby, an associate professor at Elon University in North Carolina, who oversaw the study of vigorous exercise and reading. "If you have an exam" or other activity that involves memorizing and recalling information "in a few hours, you would probably be better off sitting quietly and studying," he says. "However, if the exam is the next day, it won't hurt you to study while exercising." And if your workout is gentle, it could even help.
It seems simple enough, and if you're in the middle of a big study session might prove helpful.
How Exercise Can Help Us Learn [The New York Times]