The Checkup: How Cardio Makes Muscle Memory Stick

Surprising new research shows that exercise may help you learn new skills.

• Okay, let’s say you just learned how to ride a bike, or sink a free throw, or make it to level 25 in Super Mario Bros. (Do kids these days even know what that is?) Now tell me: What’s the first thing you should do afterwards? Here’s a hint: Go for a run. New research out of Copenhagen found that 20 minutes of cardio can help cement those motor skills into long-term muscle memory. For the study, the team asked a group of men to play a computer game; some of the men exercised before, some after, and some not at all. A week later they gathered the men back together to play the game again. The ones who exercised after the initial session performed best. The researchers aren’t sure why cardio gives a muscle-memory boost, but it could have something to do with how exercise prompts the brain to produce substances crucial in memory, according to the New York Times. Whatever the reason, let’s add “muscle memory” to the long and growing list of why exercise is awesome. Capisce?

• Are bamboo bikes the bicycles of the future? You be the judge.

• Yikes. The number of knee-replacement surgeries performed each year in the U.S. has grown by 142 percent (!) since 1991—partly due to the rise in obesity. We’re up to an estimated 500,000 such surgeries a year, according to a new report.