Sporting activities improve children's ability to learn

Sport after learning has a positive effect on children's memory
Many parents are probably familiar with the following problem: Children have great difficulty remembering knowledge learned at school. This raises the question of whether there are opportunities to improve learning ability or the memory of what has been learned in children. Researchers have now found that post-learning sporting activity improves children's memory.

In their research, the scientists at the Center for Team Sport and Health at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports found that after learning sport, children tend to develop better memory. The doctors released a press release on the results of their study.

Physical activity can improve children's memory
The current study made it clear that children remember better when they play jogging or play a game of hockey after learning, for example. Physical activity can improve children's memory if done immediately after a learning situation. The greatest effect is achieved immediately after class, in combination with intensive physical activity, says author Professor Jesper Lundbye-Jensen.

Exercise before learning also has positive effects
Other studies had previously shown that if children carry out sporting activities before learning, this increases the willingness of those affected to learn, the experts explain. On the other hand, if physical activity is done after class, it seems to lead to an improved memory of what you've learned, the researchers add.

Planning physical activities can improve learning outcomes
The studies contribute to a better understanding of the effects of physical activity. Physical activities can be scheduled to improve learning outcomes in children. The most recent study looked at the effects of physical activity after a single learning session, the researchers explain. A total of 77 third and fourth grade students from Denmark were examined. The scientists used a special computer program to test the concentration ability of the participating children.

How was the experiment set up?
The children were divided into three groups. One group played hockey, another group went jogging and the third group was just a control group. Each of the activities carried out lasted 20 minutes. Before the activities, all children had the same learning task, a so-called computer-assisted precision assignment, which the test subjects were not familiar with before, the researchers explain. The aim of the task was to enable pupils to trace special shapes on a computer as precisely as possible with the help of a computer mouse. The children were tested again one hour after completing the task. These tests were repeated the next day and a week later, the scientists explain.

After a week, the active children showed better results
It was found that the physically active children performed their tests a week later ten percent better than the average of the children from the control group. Basically, the learning session and not the physical activity is decisive for whether children learn successfully or not, the researchers explain. The observed improvement of ten percent is, so to speak, a little icing on the cake, which can also improve the learning results, according to Professor Lundbye-Jensen.

Sometimes it takes hours for knowledge to be saved as a memory
Learning does not end when the learning session ends. It can take hours for the nervous system to build up and deeply anchor the memory, the doctors explain. During this period, the memory can be subjected to positive and / or negative influences, the researchers add. In ten and eleven year old children, physical activity was found to have a positive impact on memory.

Sport activity should be done immediately after learning
Previous studies with adult subjects had already shown that the effect found is most positive when physical activity increases the pulse and occurs immediately after a learning session, the scientists say. The positive effects of physical activity are less than an hour after learning. The benefits disappear completely two hours after studying, adds Professor Lundbye-Jensen. (as)

Author and source information

Video: Run, Jump, Learn! How Exercise can Transform our Schools: John J. Ratey, MD at TEDxManhattanBeach (January 2022).