Move Naturally!

Proprioceptive activities, such as climbing a tree and balancing on a beam, can improve working memory. Proprioception, is the awareness of body positioning and orientation. In the study, activities included climbing trees, walking and crawling on a beam approximately 3 inches wide, moving while paying attention to posture, running barefoot, navigating over, under and around obstacles, as well as lifting and carrying awkwardly weighted objects. 

Proprioceptively dynamic training may place a greater demand on working memory than other activities in the control conditions (yoga or seated learning) because as environment and terrain changes, the individual has to recruit working memory to adapt. 

Take off your shoes!

Running barefoot is better than running with shoes for your working memory. Participants ran both barefoot and shod (wearing shoes) at a comfortable, self-selected pace. Working memory was measured before and after running.

1.     Barefoot: Working memory improved significantly after participants ran barefoot, but not with shoes.

2.     Time: Working Memory improved after 16 minutes

3.     Attention: Working memory improved when participants had to focus on precise foot placement when running.



  • Alloway R.G., & Alloway, T.P, Magyari, P., & Floyd, S. (2016). Can Taking off Your Shoes be Good for Your Brain? Investigating the Effects of Barefoot Running on Working Memory. Perceptual & Motor Skills
  • Alloway R.G., & Alloway, T.P., (2015). Working Memory Benefits of Proprioceptively Demanding Training: A Pilot Study. Perceptual & Motor Skills