TIME human behavior

If You Want to Improve Your Memory, Try Climbing a Tree

Boy climbing tree
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A new study says tree climbing is good for your mind

Turns out, the secret to remembering where you left your car keys may not lie with the tried-and-true method of retracing your steps or inside a prescription pill bottle. According to researchers from the University of North Florida, climbing a tree or balancing on a beam can dramatically improve cognitive skills, including memory.

Those two exercises are examples of proprioceptively dynamic activities. According to the The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, proprioception is “the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.” The dynamic part is added when you couple that effort with another element like route-planning or locomotion.

According to a press release from UNF, the results demonstrated remarkable cognitive gains: “After two hours, participants were tested again, and researchers found that their working memory capacity had increased by 50 percent, a dramatic improvement.”

For those who don’t have easy access to a forest or balance beam, now might be the perfect time to take up parkour. Don’t worry, it’s still totally way cool.

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