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Aerobic Exercise Can Help Your Child Build a Better Vocabulary


Developing a robust vocabulary is essential for becoming a good communicator, whether in one-on-one conversations or on-the-job interactions (e.g., emails to staff, presentations, etc.). Unfortunately, too many people find themselves at a loss for the right word at the right time – which can lead to miscommunication and confusion.


The process starts early, of course, in one's childhood years. Interestingly, vocabulary growth may be linked to an activity that has nothing to do with memorizing words and definitions, reading books or similar pursuits; more exercise may be the key. Let's see what new research published in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research has to say on the matter.


Children ages 6-12 completed a word learning task under two conditions. In the first, children were taught names of different objects and then colored for three minutes before being tested on the words. In the second, instead of coloring, children exercised for three minutes (either aerobic – swimming, or anaerobic – "a Cross-Fit-like workout"). Aerobic exercise proved to be conducive to more accurate word recognition compared to both anaerobic exercise and resting conditions.


These findings likely don't just mean your children can develop a better vocabulary if they study and then exercise for a few minutes. It could suggest consistent exercise – particularly the aerobic variety –is conductive to better learning. Research supports this potential, with studies associating physical activity with higher GPA, test scores and academic performance in general.

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