How exercising improves concentration

Apr 2024

Education experts have long made the link between physical activity and improved concentration levels. A study, conducted by Dr Charles Hillman of the University of Illinois, found that there was a definite correlation between exercise and a child's grasp of learning techniques.

Hillman's research revealed that after a 30-minute spell on the treadmill, pupils would fare better when it came to problem solving by up to 10%.

"It's good for attention, it's good for how fast individuals process information, and how they perform on cognitive tasks," says Hillman.

The idea that daily exercise can aid children in their education is also supported by John Ratey of the Harvard Medical School;

"Exercise, good fitness-based exercise, makes our brain more ready to learn."

You can use aerobic activity to help 'wake-up' your mind, we found a few fun exercises you can do yourself as part of a morning 'brain gym' session!

The Cross Crawl is a fun exercise that helps with spelling, writing, listening, reading and comprehension by coordinating both the right and left brain. Place your right hand across your body to the left knee as you raise it, and then do the same thing for the left hand on the right knee just as if you were marching. Do this for two to three minutes and see how it makes you feel.

We like to use the Brain Buttons exercise to increase blood flow to the brain. Position one hand so that there is as wide a space as possible between the thumb and index finger, like a large letter 'L', then place your index and thumb into the slight indentations below the collar bone on each side of the sternum. Press lightly in a pulsing manner while you put your other hand over your stomach. Gently press on these points for about two minutes to boost your thinking. Increased blood flow to the brain helps with the concentration needed for learning!