Exercise and language learning

I came across an interesting article today, via this blog, about the connection between physical and mental fitness. According to a study undertaken by Charles Hillman at the University of Illinois, students who are physically fit and who take regular aerobic exercise, tend to do better academically then those who are unfit. Physical exercise increases the flow of blood to all parts of the body, including the brain, the blood brings oxygen and various proteins with it, which help brain cells to function more effectively.

Quite often I listen to my language lessons while juggling, skating, or doing some other form of exercise. I wonder if any studies have been done about the benefits of simultaneous physical and mental exercise.

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This entry was posted in Language, Language learning.

11 Responses to Exercise and language learning

  1. Ben L. says:

    I have found counting excericises such as pushups in languages you are learning is a good way to solidify the various counting systems.

  2. Mike says:

    I also enjoy doing that. I thought it was just me ;)

  3. Polly says:

    “…and who take regular aerobic exercise”

    A little off-topic but within the general purpose of this blog: “Taking exercise” is an interesting phrase to my ears, or in this case, eyes.
    In the states, we exercise or maybe, rarely, we “do” our exercises for the day.
    I never “take” exercise anywhere along with me. :-D
    It sounds like a pill.
    What’s the term for this kind of across-the-pond difference in English? Is there one?

    Regarding exercising while learning: I think the kinesthetic feedback of exercise would probably work to produce a more concrete and, hence, memorable experience of what you were learning at that moment. Just my nonscientific guess.

  4. Declan says:

    I always learn everything better when I stand up and lecture myself – in a manner of speaking any way.

  5. Joe says:

    I’ve done that too (counted while doing crunches or pushups in French or Italian, for example) haha

    It’s pretty difficult to do simultaneous physical and mental exercise, because I don’t know about you but I like to zone out when I’m doing cardio or weights so the time goes by faster, so I really prefer music to Pimsleur lessons in that case. However, my iPod is filled with songs in several languages that I’m learning (including some that I’m not) so even then, I’m kind of getting a language lesson!

    I normally am at the gym at least five days of the week, and I definitely can attest that it really does equate to better mental performance as well. I can think more clearly when I feel good, and it brings up my mood so I’m always ready to tackle more academic tasks after a good workout as well.

    That’s probably why my favorite saying is Mens sana in corpore sano. The Romans really were on to something!

  6. David says:

    I tend to listen to a song and try to sing some of the words in the language the best that I can. And I also count in the language while doing pushups or some other way you can count.

  7. ISPKN says:

    When I run, I usually read an Arabic dictionary or grammar guide. I’m not sure if it helps or not.

  8. renato says:

    Mens sana in corpore sano. It is an very old setence but it is still up date

  9. Jamez says:

    I have created a pushups training program, where anyone can find his way to come to those 100 pushups at once. You can check it out on my webpage: http://www.100pushups.info

    Stay disciplined you all :)

  10. Debbie says:

    Hi! Nice site! I wish you well!

  11. Whenever i go to my fitness club and do my gym, i always feel elated and jovial. Also helps me to think clearly and keep me focused, physical work out and mental performance go hand in hand.