4 Ways To Learn A Language While Exercising (And Why It Helps!)

Did you know studying while exercising is linked to more effective language learning? Here are some tips for getting in shape and learning a new language — at the same time.
women in a yoga class trying to learn a language while exercising

Want to learn a language while exercising at the same time? It almost sounds too good to be true. Knocking out two of your life goals simultaneously is like killing two birds with one stone — and you don’t even have to harm any birds!

A recent study in the Public Library of Science journal found a fascinating link between language learning and exercise. In short, participants were split into two groups: half studied vocabulary in a foreign language while riding a stationary exercise bike, and the other half studied the same vocabulary while remaining still. When tested, the participants who were riding the bike performed with more accuracy than those who weren’t moving. The participants were tested again a month later with similar results, which suggests physical activity not only helps in learning a language, but also improves retention.

You’re probably wondering how you can put the findings of this study into practice without, say, falling off the treadmill. Here are four suggestions for incorporating language learning into your workout.

How To Learn A Language While Exercising

Turn Up The Music

Listening to music in other languages is a fun way to pick up some new words and hone your pronunciation skills. It’s easy to do when you’re at the gym and can help pump you up to get through an intense cardio session. We’ve curated a few playlists that are a great starting point for jamming out while working out. Hop on the elliptical, put your headphones in and start singing along.

Find Classes In Your Learning Language

More and more, people are taking exercise classes online. And that means you’re not limited to what’s available nearby. With just some internet searching, you can probably find classes for yoga, pilates or whatever else gets you moving in the language you’re learning. If you want to invest more money, there are also lots of paid opportunities out there, like the German classes that Peloton has launched (which teach you the language while you’re learning!). You might have to do some creative online searching — using search terms in the language you’re learning rather than English can help — but it’s a great way of getting your mind and body working together.

Join The Podcast Party

Podcasts have surged in popularity over the past few years, and with good reason. They’re an engaging form of entertainment that can be consumed while your eyes and body are focused elsewhere, making for an ideal running companion. There are many, many great language podcasts to help you learn a language while exercising. You should check out our full guide to learning with podcasts, which comes with lots of recs. You can also check out the podcasts Babbel itself has made, covering Spanish, German, French and more.

Babbel With Care

Babbel offers the best path to becoming conversational in a new language, and its availability across your devices makes it ideal for working out. Make sure you download our app before heading to the gym! Then choose a less intensive exercise that enables you to safely use your phone — maybe a slow pedal on the stationary bike or some one-armed weightlifting. Please, Babbel responsibly; we don’t want you running into a tree or making a scene in yoga class. If you prefer more strenuous activities, study with Babbel for a few minutes immediately before or after your workout.

Strengthen your mind, not just your body.
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