Simultaneous Low Intensity Exercise Helps Learning Last


Two studies have looked at the link of exercise and learning.  One study compared learning among 81 participants in 3 scenarios: after sitting quietly for 30 minutes, after gently biking for 30 minutes, and the third group during biking with mild intensity for 30 minutes. The third group (learning while biking) did best on short-term and long-term learning.

Another study found different results in two groups of only 11 participants. The single group sat quietly for 30 minutes while learning and then the next day exercised intensely for 30 minutes while learning.  Short-term learning was best in the sitting group, but there was no difference found in long-term recall.

One expert suggested that if you have an exam in a few hours, sit quietly as you study for short term recall.  If your exam is the next day, then studying during mild intensity might be a good idea to try.

What do you think?  Maybe we should all do this experiment. Learning during exercise is a form of multi-tasking which, while inefficient during a high intensity workout, has been found to optimize learning when simultaneously carried out at a mild intensity.  Perhaps testing out the author’s finding is worth a shot. Sit on that stationary bike in your basement as you study for an exam?


Enjoy your day.



How Exercise Can Help Us Learn by Gretchen Reynolds

New York Times, August 7, 2013

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