How Exercise Can Help the Brain Learn

Matrix present T7xi Treadmill at FIBO 2013Past studies have showed that exercising has been tied to learning new things. However, the studies did not make it clear when the best time to exercise was to increase your learning power. Was is before you learned something new, during, or after? Plus, what kind of exercise should you be doing to tap into these super learning powers? New York Times Magazine took a deeper dive into the issue and came up with a more in depth look at how exercise can help you learn more and better.

The study took 81 healthy, young German women and split them into three groups. Each group received headphones and an audio of German nouns alongside their equivalent noun in Polish. Each woman listened thirty minutes. However, one group sat quietly and listened, one group rode stationary bikes gently while listening, and the last group rode stationary bikes at a mild pace while listening.

Two days later, the women all took a test to see how many of the new words they remembered. All groups recalled some words, but the highest percentage of memorization came from the group who listened and rode their stationary bikes at a gentle pace. The women who listened to the audio and rode their bikes at a higher pace did better than the women who just sat and listened, but only slightly better.

It seems to show that the time and intensity of a workout does affect learning. A light workout is just enough to spark the brain and help it go into its prime functioning. Whereas a vigorous workout taxes the brain too much, making learning not as effective since the brain is so focused on working out.

This study is definitely not an end all or the authority on the brain and how it learns, but it is quite interesting. Think of the ways you can try this little tidbit in your own life. If you need to learn something for work or class, try doing so on a stationary bike or treadmill. Also, if you want to help your kids learn better, have them bounce gently on a mini trampoline or yoga ball.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

Story Credit, Image Credit: Matrix present T7xi Treadmill at FIBO 2013 by Health Gauge. Used under a Creative Commons license. 

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