We’ve all heard about the benefits of exercise on our general health and wellbeing, but can exercise improve student’s ability to learn? The short answer is yes!
March 21, 2022
We’ve all heard about the benefits of exercise on our general health and wellbeing, but can exercise improve student’s ability to learn? The short answer is yes! And here’s how:
Research has shown that exercise can actually strengthen memory. During physical exercise, the brain releases proteins which the Hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for retaining information) is very responsive to. As a result, our ability to retain information and cognitive ability is enhanced.
Any form of intense exercise causes the blood to flow around the body, including to the brain. This in turn fires up neurons and promotes cell growth in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus. The result of this is a boost to brain performance. So much so, that just 20 minutes of exercise before a lesson or self-study can improve student concentration and focus.
Increased energy and improved mood
It has been well documented that there is a connection between being physically active and delivering a strong academic performance, but why? Well - low intensity exercise can give our energy levels a big boost, and physical activity raises the ‘feel good’ chemical (endorphins) in the brain which reduces stress and improves brain function and concentration helping individuals to focus on their studies.
Impact on learning
How can we use this information in the classroom? Well, it’s worth being mindful of the positive effects of exercise when planning your lessons. If you have an intense lesson to teach, consider getting the class moving half way through the lesson to get the blood moving and the classes’ hippocampus’s firing again!