Category Archives: learning

Exercise Creates Optimal Brain State for Mastering New Motor Skills

As I have said numerous times here, I love it when fresh news meets my bias. The one I am thinking about is how physical exercise benefits brain function. You can check out my post – Can exercise help me to learn? And, don’t forget my Page – Important facts about your brain – and exercise benefits.

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If you want to learn to walk a tightrope, it’s a good idea to go for a short run after each practice session. That’s because a recent study in NeuroImage demonstrates that exercise performed immediately after practicing a new motor skill improves its long-term retention. More specifically, the research shows, for the first time, that as little as a single fifteen-minute bout of cardiovascular exercise increases brain connectivity and efficiency. It’s a discovery that could, in principle, accelerate recovery of motor skills in patients who have suffered a stroke or who face mobility problems following an injury. Continue reading

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Filed under brain, brain function, brain health, exercise and brain health, Healthy brain, learning

Sweat – Don’t Forget: Exercise Breaks Improve Learning

It is becoming clearer to me with every day that passes – exercise is the key to a better life. Everyone understands the first level – that our bodies crave movement. But new research continues to unearth fresh benefits for our bodies globally. Every aspect of our life and being tends to benefit from exercise. Just scroll back through this blog at the last 10 posts and you will find one after the other example of this.

New research from a team of scientists at McMaster University suggests that brief exercise breaks during lectures can help university students focus their attention, retain information and improve overall learning.

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While the benefits of exercise are well-known for school-aged children, this is the first study to examine the benefits for adult students. The findings are published online in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.

For the study, researchers examined three groups of first-year Introductory Psychology students, who were tasked with watching a 50-minute online lecture. One cohort performed a series of brief, calisthenic exercises at regular breaks during the lecture, another took breaks but played a video game, and a final group did not take any break. Continue reading

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Filed under Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, learning

Deep sleep reinforces the learning of new motor skills

I would like to remind you that I am a strong proponent of a good night’s sleep. Check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? for more information.

Medical Press reports the following:

The benefits of a good night’s sleep have become widely known, and now neuroscientists at UC San Francisco have discovered that the animal brain reinforces motor skills during deep sleep.

During non-REM sleep, bolster neural touchpoints that are directly related to a task that was newly learned while awake, while weakening neural links that are not, the researchers found.

Credit: University of California, San Francisco

“This phenomenon may be related to the notion of ‘extracting the gist’ of how to perform a novel task,” said Karunesh Ganguly, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology. “Sleep appears to reduce that is not related to a task we are in the process of learning.”

Having a better handle on the mechanics of how sleep affects learning could lead to new medical stimulation devices, and consumer-driven wearable devices, or “electroceuticals,” which stimulate brain cells and improve learning as we snooze. Devices from some startups are headed in that direction, but so far they are designed to stimulate the brain while we are awake.

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Filed under good night's sleep, learning, sleep