Could joining the swim team turn your kid into a spelling champ?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Jumping jacks and burpees can help us lose holiday pounds… AND master that Sunday crossword! That’s right! Studies show exercise helps improve brain activity. But what’s the absolute BEST sport for boosting learning?
Enter Madison Pruitt and Giovanna Morini from the University of Delaware!
They asked forty-eight elementary school students to complete a learning task. The kids were taught names of novel objects, like “Bee-zee.” Then they either rested, did aerobic exercises like swimming, or anaerobic exercises, like CrossFit. Aerobic exercises are oxygen consuming activities, anaerobic exercises are not.
After each workout the kids were tested on their newly learned vocabulary.
Results? After swimming, the participants were THIRTEEN PERCENT better at recognizing words than after resting! However, no significant difference was found between the anaerobic and rest conditions.
The researchers believe that aerobic exercise can boost kids’ word learning by increasing BDNF, a molecule related to learning.
As for MY exercise routine? I prefer child’s pose. Namaste! (In bed.)
Reference: Pruitt, M., & Morini, G. (2021). Examining the Role of Physical Activity on Word Learning in School-Aged Children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(5), 1712–1725. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_jslhr-20-00359