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MARATHONS AND MEMORY

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Posted by abeodbart July 31, 2009 at 9:06 am


The Neurocritic has a fascinating summary of a recent paper investigating different types of memory in marathon runners. Why marathoners? Because completing a 26.2 mile race is an insanely arduous exercise, and leads to the massive release of stress hormones such as cortisol. Here are the scientists:

Indeed, cortisol levels recorded 30 min after completion of a marathon rival those reported in military training and interrogation, rape victims being treated acutely, severe burn injury patients, and first-time parachute jumpers.

Full article at The Frontal Cortex a great blog by Jonah Lehrer who is a contributing editor at Wired and who wrote the rather fascinating Proust was a Neuroscientist and  How We Decide – go check them out.

COMMENTS
July 31, 2009 at 11:12 am
Kirsty says:

That’s interesting, 30 mins after a marathon I feel more elated than stressed.


July 31, 2009 at 12:01 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

I think “stress hormone” is a massive media overspimplification of what cortisol actually is, though. I don’t think it actually causes you to feel mentally upset. I’m not sure. I mean, a first-time parachute jumper probably isn’t going to feel like a burn victim either. Well, unless something went REALLY wrong.
Good job on doing marathons dude, I did my first 10k in May and I totally want to work towards a half.


July 31, 2009 at 12:46 pm
Kirsty says:

Ah right yeah that makes more sense. Thanks, well done on doing the 10k, go for it, halfs are fun!


July 31, 2009 at 1:45 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

Once I’ve done a half I want to work myself up to full, but 10k seemed like a lot at the time! And once you get past the 20k mark you really have to care about things like nutrition and proper hydration and all that junk. For 10k all I needed to do was drink water the night before, not get drunk and eat a banana at some point in the morning. The part where I didn’t get drunk was the hardest.


July 31, 2009 at 2:07 pm
Kirsty says:

Ha ha I know what you mean, yeah it can be a bit of a pain with the hydration and eating well, but it makes me eat more healthily than I used to and care about food more, although eating lots of carbs and not drinking much alcohol can get a bit boring.


July 31, 2009 at 7:35 pm
Ms G says:

Well, that also happens when not having run a marathon …. people switch to the same system as people who run a marathon quite more often then these scientists would like to see .. And it makes perfectly sense why a certain type of memory will need to go down … After all .. we need to use the energy we normally would have putten in our conscious self in our other self …to drive our body to the max we want it to be on .. it’s a bit a trance you’re getting into.

The immune system is supposed to go down as well when people ask something from theirselves with is not in their normal self. Does not need to be a marathon. The weird thing is that people do feel quite good quite often, but that is mainly due to the lack of their normal self, that is based on a slightly depressed self mostly.

It would be more interesting to be able to have that full control over ourself that we could switch any moment to any state we want/need to be in. That’s not always possible. The body needs sometimes more time to redirect .. more than we, the drivers, want it to. And we are being influenced by the universe as well, we all have our personal rhytms as our bodies will not respond the same way to all things. Female suffer also from their hormonal cycle. Things in their body go up and down all the time. Their immune system as well.


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