18 December 2015

18 December: Physical activity improves your learning

Motor learning

Today’s yuletide researcher has discovered that our memory improves when we exercise after learning. Jesper Lundbye-Jensen is an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports whose research involves the study of how the brain controls our motions and the relationship between activity and learning.

A post lecture pedal can help us remember what we learn, according to a project where learning among adult subjects was measured in response to physical activity. In the study, physical activity occurred immediately after learning so as to find out if activity helps establish memory.

Jesper Lundbye-Jensen focuses on motor learning at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports. He researches the relationship between physical activity and learning, as well as changes to the brain and central nervous system that accompany learning.

According to Lundbye-Jensen, the most exciting thing about his research is that he studies brain function, learning mechanisms and the significant factors behind learning. With research into motor learning, learning and training environments can be optimised to promote motor learning among children, patients undergoing rehabilitation and many others.

The experiments conducted in Jesper Lundbye-Jensen’s research involve functional tests of motoric performance, precision, strength, etc., as well as memory and performance through cognitive tests. The processes behind our behaviour are studied with the help of various electrophysiological and imaging techniques such as fMRI scanning and magnetic stimulation of the cerebral cortex (TMS).

Jesper Lundby-Jensen’s research can be used in two ways. On one hand, it can contribute to basic science by providing a deeper understanding of how our brains and nervous system acquire new skills. On the other hand, knowledge about learning can also be used to improve learning environments for patients undergoing rehabilitation, or to improve childhood learning, such as through the incorporation of physical activity via school reforms.