Exercise Improves Vocabulary Growth In Children, Study Says

A recent study out of the University of Delaware has found that exercise can boost kids’ vocabulary growth. We know that exercise has many benefits, but this is the first study into the effect of exercise on vocabulary learning, and the results are promising. 


The Study

The children selected were between the ages of 6 and 12 and were taught a number of new words before either going swimming, taking part in functional fitness  exercises, or before completing a colouring sheet.1  

Lead researcher, Pruitt, is a former college swimmer who now regularly takes functional fitness  classes. The study came about as she wanted to prove that ‘motor movement helps in encoding new words’1, because exercise can be seen as the ‘Miracle-Gro of the brain’1. 


The Results

The results were impressive. The children who swam after being introduced to new vocabulary were 13% more accurate in the follow-up vocabulary tests. However, science suggests that exercise can be attributed to helping children learn, so why was swimming more successful than functional fitness?1  

Pruitt relates this to how much energy each exercise demands from the brain. For example, swimming came naturally to the children, and they didn’t have to think about it. Functional fitness  movements were new to them, and they had to think about what they were doing, therefore demanding more energy from the brain and detracting from the energy available to learn new vocabulary.1 


Take Home Message

Whilst we can’t promise that exercise is going to turn you into the next JK Rowling, we can’t deny the benefits that it has on your body, mental and physical health and on your ability to learn. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we have any readers between the ages of 6 and 13, but it is definitely worth bearing in mind. 



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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Emily Wilcock

Emily Wilcock

Writer and expert

Emily is studying Business Management & Marketing at the University of Birmingham and is currently on her intern year. She has a keen interest in both writing and fitness, so is happy she can now combine the two. She likes to spend time with her friends, both in & out of the gym.

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