We are already aware that exercise is not only beneficial for our physical health, but out mental health too. A recent study has determined that exercising can help you pick up a new language faster. So if you do not workout, better start now!
The study published in the journal PLOS One, indicated that exercising during a language lesson allows the brain to better memorize, retain, and understand new words. The evidence provided suggests that if we require our mind to be alert, then we must put our bodies in motion.
40 Chinese men and women in their college age were recruited for the study by the researches in China and Italy. Their aim was to better understand the difference between learning a language in adulthood as opposed to childhood. Children are easily able to learn the first language (and sometimes a second) by absorbing the words around us, however the ability to do this wanes in adults.
Researchers divided the participants into two groups. In one, students learned English through seated vocabulary classes (how we are taught normally), and the other group was asked to ride an exercise bik at a gentle pace, starting 20 minutes before the lesson began and continuing throughout the 15-minute class.
The focus of the classes was on vocabulary, with students trying to learn 40 words per session. The students were given a vocabulary quiz after each class, which showed that those who were biking outperformed the ones learning at a desk. In addition to that, the students who exercised during their class understood the sentence structure better, and showed better retention than the other group.
"The results suggest that physical activity during learning improves that learning" says study co-author Simone Sulpizio, a professor of psychology and linguistics at the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy. "These improvements extend beyond simply aiding in memorization. The exercise also deepened language learners’ grasp of how to use their newly acquired words."
“We are not suggesting that schools or teachers buy lots of bicycles,” Sulpzio said. “A simpler take-home message may be that instruction should be flanked by physical activity. Sitting for hours and hours without moving is not the best way to learn."
Authors of the study warned that their research did not examine how other exercises could impact language learning, or whether an increase in bicycling pace would show the same results.
For those who do not own a bicycle, letting your mind free of distractions and regularly practicing can help you learn faster as well.