Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Exercise & Working Memory

Jan 23, 2020

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

A recent study demonstrated that a single session of moderate exercise, such as a brisk 20-minute walk, can improve working memory as much as the caffeine in your morning cup of coffee. Working memory is the ability to store and manipulate information, such as following directions to a store, remembering items on a grocery list you accidentally left at home, or making a purchasing decision between two items.

Takeaway: Exercise and caffeine enhance cognitive capacity. Those folks who are unable to consume caffeine can enjoy the same cognitive boost from 20 minutes of moderate exercise.


  1. Quote: Literary Devices, online at
  2. Anisa Morava, Matthew James Fagan & Harry Prapavessis , Effects of Caffeine and Acute Aerobic Exercise on Working Memory and Caffeine Withdrawal, Scientific ReportsSci Rep 9, 19644 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41598-019-56251-y, online at
  3. How Working Memory gets you Through the Day, Neuroscience News, Oct. 24, 2018, online at
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