Doctorate Housewife

What my degree in IPE didn't teach me about baking, DIY, fitness, and life…

What’s Your Reason – Exercise to Help Learn a New Skill

I was scrolling through the NY Times website and this one caught me right away. Exercise can help you master new skills?! What?! Well, the studies are relatively new and of course there is much left to learn (good disclaimer out of the way now), but it seems that exercising can actually improve your ability to learn new skills.

We all know about muscle memory. Learn to ride a bike and well, it’s like riding a bike… you can pick it up years later without much trouble. Scientists have done studies to see if exercise would help people remember things better, lists of numbers, etc, and it does (so keep that on the list of reasons for next time). But this time it was all about motor skills.

The study set up three groups and taught them a new motor skill. One group (the control) was just taught the skill. The second group was made to do a 15 minute intense cycling workout before they learned the skill. Finally the third group did the same 15 minute workout after learning the skill. Guess who did the best on a test of the skill a week later????

A modified headstand exercise in artistic cycling.

A modified headstand exercise in artistic cycling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you guessed the third group, then you’d be right! (Followed by group 2 and poor old group 1 came last.) Scientists hypothesise that exercising after learning the skill helps solidify the muscle memory, helping consolidate it and move it from short to long term storage. More research has to be done, but in the meantime, got a new skill to learn? Why not stick some aerobic intervals into your  studying? It might just help you remember better. And even if it doesn’t, just remember – you never regret a workout =)

What’s your reason?

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4 comments on “What’s Your Reason – Exercise to Help Learn a New Skill

  1. Heather
    September 27, 2012

    Huh! Very interesting. As a former research assistant, I totally geeked out when I saw this! Maybe I’ll add some tabata workouts to my French lessons 🙂

    • Jessi
      September 27, 2012

      Couldn’t hurt. If you do, let me know how it turns out =)

  2. Pingback: What’s your reason? Exercise makes you less greedy! « Doctorate Housewife

  3. Pingback: What’s your reason – Benefits of Afternoon Exercise for the Poor Sleeper « Doctorate Housewife

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This entry was posted on September 26, 2012 by in What's your reason and tagged , , , , , , .

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