By: Annabel Patch
Recess the favorite class of many children, may be one of the most important classes a child participates in. While it may seem as though recess is taking away from time kids could be learning, studies done by Wendy Suzuki and other neuroscientists and teachers prove otherwise. Wendy Suzuki a neuroscientist studying memory has discovered the impact of exercise on learning in people of all ages but specifically children. Suzuki started working out after going through a slump in her everyday life. She wasn’t feeling her best socially and emotionally and decided to start going to the gym as a way to feel stronger. After going to the gym regularly for about a year and a half she started to see the benefit of exercise in her own work. She discovered that since she started exercising the quality of her work had improved.
After seeing this improvement Suzuki decided to investigate the effects of exercise on the brain. She learned that exercise is mood boosting and helps with your cognitive functions, or your ability to process things. The brain is a muscle and like all muscles, it can be strengthened. Suzuki learned that exercise, in particular, is great for strengthening your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Your prefrontal cortex is in charge of executive functions, such as the control of your behavior. The hippocampus is in charge of memory and some key parts of learning. Both of these structures in our brains are important to learning. By strengthening these we are able to learning is able to improve. By exercising you are enhancing your creative thinking, decision making, focus, and retrieving memories. Suzuki found that after exercising students are able to focus on a task for up to 2 hours.
Along with improving your learning, Suzuki found that exercise is able to improve your quality of life in general. Exercise encourages the growth of new neurons in a process called neurogenesis. This can help with learning. Also, exercise produces hormones like serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphins. These hormones boost your mood and also reduce stress. This can greatly improve your quality of life.
Because of the benefits of exercise, recess is very important to the well being of children. It not only helps them learn and grow, but it can also improve their quality of life. Recess gives kids the chance to run around and hang out with friends. Suzuki found that this exercise, even for only a short amount of time can make a big difference in the lives of children. By studying the children's ability to focus before and after exercise she was able to conclude that exercise like recess is beneficial in kids lives. Although kids may not be using that time to learn new skills such as multiplication and grammar the time is crucial for children's memory recall and attention span. Being able to remember and recall information learned in class is much more beneficial to the children's’ education than learning information is forgetting it because the child is not focused.
How Movement and Exercise Help Kids Learn. (2019, May 22). Retrieved from
Ms. Carrigan's Psych Class
We have been reading articles about psychological studies to inform the way we live our lives. Please explore, and we hope you learn a bit about the psychology in your life!