Swimming may boost children’s vocabulary

20 September 2021

A recent study by the University of Delaware suggests swimming could help improve vocabulary learning among children. 

The article, published in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, details how researchers taught children aged six to 12 new words before asking them to do one of three things –swimming, a CrossFit-style workout or colouring. Those who swam were 13% more accurate in follow-up tests.

Lead researcher Madison Pruitt said motor movement helps in encoding new words thanks to an increased level of a protein she calls the ‘Miracle-Gro of the brain’ during exercise. Swimming had such a positive impact because it was an automatic activity that required little thought or instruction.

She said: ‘We were so excited about this study because it applies to clinicians, caregivers and educators who can put it into practice.’

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