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Squeeze Your Hands for Sharper Memory

Unveiling the memory-enhancing power of isometric handgrip exercise.

Key points

  • Isometric handgrip exercises, like squeezing a ball, could speed up memory responses, a new study finds.
  • This technique offers a simple, approachable way to maintain mental flexibility and alertness.
  • This form of exercise boosts physiological arousal, preparing the body for information intake.
  • The potential benefits of such exercise can apply to the old and young alike.

In the field of cognitive science, there has been a lot of research on how exercise affects brain activity. The benefits of regular physical activity on our cognitive abilities have been the subject of numerous studies, and the most recent work in this area has produced some compelling results.

A recent study in the journal Psychology and Aging, "Isometric Handgrip Exercise Speeds Working Memory Responses in Younger and Older Adults," sheds insight on how uncomplicated, easy exercise might be an effective way to hone memory responses. Younger and older folks can both gain from the interesting exercise-memory connection that is revealed.

Squeeze, Listen, and Recall

In the study—carried out by Shelby Bachman, Sumedha Attanti, and Mara Mather—109 participants were divided into two groups. One group was made up of younger people, aged 18 to 29, and the other was made up of elderly people, aged 65 to 85. The participants were either placed in an exercise group that squeezed their hands together in an isometric handgrip motion or in a control group that did not undertake this exercise.

The workout group members rhythmically squeezed therapeutic balls while listening to music through headphones. They next engaged in a memory challenge involving listening to and recalling specific pieces of information after these hand-squeezing sessions.

What did the scientists discover? Those who had been squeezing balls performed the memory task faster than those who hadn't. Regardless of the participants' ages or the difficulty of the memory tests, the study showed that isometric handgrip exercises were associated with sped-up memory responses.

The Alert Benefit

Additionally, the researchers found that the activity involved pressing your hands together increased physiological arousal, a state of attention in which your body is pumped up and prepared to take in information. This shows that this straightforward action that boosts awareness could also help our memory performance.

This is crucial for senior citizens who may struggle with memory loss and sluggish processing as they age. So, don't worry if you start to forget things or experience some mental drowsiness. Your brain may require a stress ball more than anything else.

The Greater Picture

These results contribute significantly to the body of research showing the advantages of exercise for cognitive health. It's encouraging to consider how a straightforward, approachable workout may improve cognitive abilities.

This brings up fascinating opportunities for tactics to improve cognitive performance and health. In reality, simple activities like squeezing a stress ball might be incorporated into daily routines as a fun and simple approach to maintaining our mental flexibility and alertness.

Final Thoughts

Studies like this provide new perspectives as the world focuses on lifespan and good aging. This specific study beautifully connects the dots between exercise and cognitive performance and highlights how squeezing your way to greater memory could be a practical and efficient method.

Simply said, continue to squeeze your stress ball. It not only relieves tension but may improve your memory as well.


Bachman, S. L., Attanti, S., & Mather, M. (2023). Isometric handgrip exercise speeds working memory responses in younger and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 38(4), 305–322.

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