Could exercise help you learn new language?

February 23, 2017 by David Copland, University of Queensland
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Understanding how exercise affects language learning could help patients with brain conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

A trial by University of Queensland researchers will examine the effects of exercise on in healthy older adults.

The study, led by UQ's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences researcher Professor David Copland is looking to recruit 75 participants aged between 60 and 85 years old who have English as their primary language.

"Exercise is known to be important for maintaining and improving cognition in late adulthood," Professor Copland said.

"We're interested in working out what types of exercise are best for improving learning.

"By recruiting healthy older adults, our goal is to translate our findings to clinical populations of the same age.

"Understanding how exercise affects language learning could eventually lead to the development of new approaches to improve language re-learning in people with brain conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and following a stroke."

The study is being conducted at UQ's St Lucia campus in Brisbane, with participants attending three visits across two weeks.

The sessions will include a cognitive assessment, a fitness assessment, a single bout of either stretching, moderate-intensity cycling or high-intensity cycling, three , and a short language task.

Each participant will receive a free fitness assessment conducted by an accredited .

"It's believed that the body responds to one session of by inducing changes in the blood, changes that are thought to increase the brain's capacity to learn," Professor Copland said.

"In order to assess these changes, a certified phlebotomist will take blood samples at different time points.

"After exercising, participants will be asked to complete a task that consists of learning new words."

Explore further: Is 12 minutes of exercise all that is needed to fight diabetes?

Related Stories

Is 12 minutes of exercise all that is needed to fight diabetes?

December 7, 2016
A University of Queensland researcher is trialling a 12-minute exercise plan that aims to fight type 2 diabetes in a flash.

Use it or lose it: Study shows that stopping exercise decreases brain blood flow

August 29, 2016
We all know that we can quickly lose cardiovascular endurance if we stop exercising for a few weeks, but what impact does the cessation of exercise have on our brains? New research led by University of Maryland School of ...

Research hits the sweet spot for healthy brains

October 24, 2016
The University of Queensland has launched a world-first clinical trial to determine the exact amount of exercise that can reverse the effects of ageing on the brain.

Older, fitter adults experience greater brain activity while learning

January 13, 2017
Older adults who experience good cardiac fitness may be also keeping their brains in good shape as well.

Improving fitness may counteract brain atrophy in older adults

November 19, 2015
Older adults that improved their fitness through a moderate intensity exercise program increased the thickness of their brain's cortex, the outer layer of the brain that typically atrophies with Alzheimer's disease, according ...

Study highlights the importance of physical activity and aerobic exercise for healthy brain function

December 2, 2015
Regardless of gender, young adults who have greater aerobic fitness also have greater volume of their entorhinal cortex, an area of the brain responsible for memory. Better aerobic fitness however does not appear to impact ...

Recommended for you

Schizophrenia a side effect of human development

February 21, 2018
Schizophrenia may have evolved as an "unwanted side effect" of the development of the complex human brain, a new study has found.

How the brain tells our limbs apart

February 21, 2018
Legs and arms perform very different functions. Our legs are responsible primarily for repetitive locomotion, like walking and running. Our arms and hands, by contrast, must be able to execute many highly specialized jobs—picking ...

Cognitive benefits of 'young blood' linked to brain protein in mice

February 21, 2018
Loss of an enzyme that modifies gene activity to promote brain regeneration may be partly responsible for age-related cognitive decline, according to new research in laboratory mice by UC San Francisco scientists, who also ...

Therapeutic antibodies protected nerve–muscle connections in a mouse model of Lou Gehrig's disease

February 20, 2018
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, causes lethal respiratory paralysis within several years of diagnosis. There are no effective treatments to slow or halt this devastating disease. Mouse ...

Brain immune system is key to recovery from motor neuron degeneration

February 20, 2018
The selective demise of motor neurons is the hallmark of Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Yet neurologists have suspected there are other types of brain cells involved in the progression ...

Brain liquefaction after stroke is toxic to surviving brain: study

February 20, 2018
Scientists have known for years that the brain liquefies after a stroke. If cut off from blood and oxygen for a long enough period, a portion of the brain will die, slowly morphing from a hard, rubbery substance into liquid ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.