Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 1132-1141

First online:

Poorer aerobic fitness relates to reduced integrity of multiple memory systems

  • Matthew B. PontifexAffiliated withMichigan State UniversityDepartment of Kinesiology, 27P IM Sports Circle, Michigan State University Email author 
  • , Andrew C. ParksAffiliated withMichigan State University
  • , Patrick C. O’NeilAffiliated withMichigan State University
  • , Adriel R. EgnerAffiliated withMichigan State University
  • , Joseph T. WarningAffiliated withMichigan State University
  • , Karin A. PfeifferAffiliated withMichigan State University
  • , Kimberly M. FennAffiliated withMichigan State University

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Epidemiological investigations have revealed increases in the prevalence of sedentary behaviors in industrialized societies. However, the implications of those lifestyle choices and related cardiorespiratory fitness levels for memory function are not well-understood. To determine the extent to which cardiorespiratory fitness relates to the integrity of multiple memory systems, a cross-sectional sample of young adults were tested over the course of 3 days in areas related to implicit memory, working memory, long-term memory, and aerobic fitness. Findings revealed an association between aerobic fitness and memory function such that individuals with lower cardiorespiratory fitness exhibited poorer implicit memory performance and poorer long-term memory retention. These data indicate that cardiorespiratory fitness may be important for the optimal function of neural networks underlying these memory systems.


Basal ganglia Cognitive control Neural network Working memory Longterm memory Implicit memory