Getting exercise and learning a new language at the same time? It 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 (PLOS) 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 vocab 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 of said language.
You’re probably wondering how you can put the findings of this study into practice without, say, falling off the treadmill. Here are 3 suggestions for incorporating language learning into your workout.
How To Link Exercise and Learning Languages
Turn Up The Music
Listening to foreign language music 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 curated an upbeat Spanish language playlist that provides a great starting point for jamming out while working out. Hop on the elliptical, put your headphones in, and turn up the music.
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 gym companion. There are several great language podcasts to help you brush up on your skills. Start with Babbel’s own English-Spanish podcast Chatty con Leche, in which a Brit and a Spaniard share the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of learning a language. And they’ll even teach you some foreign words and phrases along the way. Check out this list for more language-learning podcasts that can help you link exercise and learning.
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. The concept of engaging both your brain and body will probably still apply.