Next time you learn a new basketball trick or master another Mario Kart level, go for a short run afterwards. That burst of exercise might help to burn those new motor skills into your body, making you more likely to do it again next time you try.
In a study published earlier this month, researchers from the University of Copenhagen asked a group of men to master a new motor skill using a computer game. Some of the men exercised before learning, some after … and some not at all. Then, one week later, they retested the men—and those who had exercised after did best.
How does working out help? The researchers suspect that exercise releases brain chemicals that make the new muscle memories more solid and likely to last.
So next time you’re looking to perfect your jump shot for good, try this: Practice hard (until it’s so spot on you’re feeling cocky), then do 20 minutes of aerobic exercise immediately afterwards.
Hopefully it helps you whip your buddy when you play one-on-one next weekend.