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Emerging research demonstrates that exercise is favorably associated with several cognitive outcomes, including episodic memory function. The majority of the mechanistic work describing the underlying mechanisms of this effect has focused on chronic exercise engagement. Such mechanisms include, e.g., chronic exercise-induced neurogenesis, gliogenesis, angiogenesis, cerebral circulation, and growth factor production. Less research has examined the mechanisms through which acute (vs. chronic) exercise subserves episodic memory function. The purpose of this review is to discuss these potential underlying mechanisms, which include, e.g., acute exercise-induced (via several pathways, such as vagus nerve and muscle spindle stimulation) alterations in neurotransmitters, synaptic tagging/capturing, associativity, and psychological attention.