Kinesthetic Learning: Movement Exercises Your Mind

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Students in lecture-based classes are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes with kinesthetic, multi-sensory, movement-based learning (Jordt, Wenderoth 2014). Similarly, 68 percent of high school students in the United States do not have daily physical activity (Grunbaum et al., 2002). What do both of these things have in common? Students are sitting in class and not exercising their minds.

Kinesthetic learning through movement helps:

  1. Strengthen learning
  2. Improve memory
  3. Enhance motivation


Classrooms across the nation have seen positive changes in students’ self-discipline and test scores. The reason why? Their teachers are incorporating cross-body movements, chanting, skip-counting, songs, and dance into subjects like math, reading, and even science. When students learn through movement, it strengthens their academics and their overall love for learning.


Exercise gives the brain oxygen and feeds it neurotrophins (small amounts of nutrients) which increases the number of neurons. Studies show this creates better cognition, memory, and reduced likelihood of depression (Kempermann, 2002). Teaching a study session through movement may help students remember more vocabulary words for a test and for longer-term usage in speaking and writing.


When we engage students through movement, the brain releases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine activates the “reward center” of students’ brains and makes students energetic and happy. For example, if you are teaching a math class lecture style, it may be difficult for some students to release dopamine. Auditory or visual learners may receive some benefit from lectures, while kinesthetic learners struggle. When students engage in movement while learning, dopamine is released and students are motivated. Movement makes learning new, exciting, and rewarding.


Math & Movement makes a typical math lecture energizing and fun. When students are introduced to kinesthetic learning through movement at a young age, they are more likely to continue to be successful throughout the rest of their education. Therefore, kinesthetic learning strengthens learning, improves memory, and enhances motivation!


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