Run for Your Brain! Barefoot Running to Boost Your Memory

© AP Photo / Seth WenigBarefoot model
Barefoot model - Sputnik International
Working memory functions better after barefoot running rather than running with shoes, according to a new study.

The experiment, designed by a team of researchers from the University of North Florida (UNF) in the US, showed that running barefoot leads to better cognitive performance than running with shoes.

"If we take off our shoes and go for a run, we can finish smarter than when we started," said lead researcher Dr. Ross Alloway, associate professor from the Department of Psychology at the UNF.

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Within the study, 72 participants between the ages of 18 and 44 ran both barefoot and with shoes on at a comfortable, self-selected pace for approximately 16 minutes. Working memory was measured before and after running. The results showed a significant increase of approximately 16 percent in memory performance in the barefoot-running condition. In addition, there was no noticeable increase in working memory when running with shoes.

Running barefoot, people usually have to avoid stepping on potentially hurtful objects by using precise foot placement. According to Dr. Alloway, the barefoot condition required a more intensive use of working memory due to the intensified tactile sensitivity associated with being barefoot.

"Working memory is increasingly recognized as a crucial cognitive skill, and these findings are great news for people looking for a fun way to boost their working memory," said co-researcher Dr. Tracy Alloway.

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