How to Learn a New Motor Skill Faster

The hardest part of learning a new skill is the initial learning curve. There’s a lot to learn in those early stages. So much so that it can even be daunting to the point of intimidating you from even trying. The learning curve is akin to walking through quicksand. Difficult, but if you use the power of your brain and body together, you can add a little water to that quicksand and learn faster.

You learn most of your motor skills as you grow up. By the time you make it through high school, you’ve more than likely practiced and become good at all kinds of motor skills. You can do simple tasks, like the activities of daily living, or you may be skilled at basketball or knitting.

How to Learn a New Motor Skill Faster

Learning a new motor skill comes into play when you’re interested in taking up a new sport, learning an instrument or starting a new craft. Learning a new motor skill is even more important for those individuals who struggle to complete simple tasks, like writing or even pouring milk into a glass.

These people are either developmentally delayed or have had a major debilitating injury, which needs rehabilitation. Fortunately, new research demonstrates how you can learn motor skills as quickly and easily as possible, no matter your reason for learning.

The Research

In a recent study completed by Marc Roig of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, participants were asked to learn a new skill using a tool called a dynamometer. It’s like a gamer’s joystick. Participants had to use the stick to move a cursor up and down as they connected red rectangles as quickly as possible. The joystick task was followed by 15 minutes of either rest or exercise.

After the rest or exercise, participants had to complete a different version of the task at varying intervals (30, 60 or 90 minutes). Then, at the eight hour and 24-hour points after this second activity, all participants were asked to do the same red rectangle task they completed in the beginning. All the while, researchers monitored and assessed each participant’s brain activity.

The study found that participants who exercised after the first task showed more efficient brain activity compared to those who took rest.

Participants who exercised showed less brain activity when completing the red rectangle task the final time. Exercise decreased the amount of neural activity necessary to complete the task, which allowed individuals to have more neural processing power to give to other tasks. In addition, both groups showed an increased ability to retain information when tested at the 24-hour mark compared to the eight-hour mark, which means that sleep also plays a role in motor skill retention.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to learning a new motor skill, the research shows that 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise after practicing a new skill will help your brain process the task more efficiently the next time you do it.

Related at Care2

Image via Getty Images

27 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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heather g
heather g2 months ago

When you're older you need to want to keep your mind and body active.

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Janet B
Janet B2 months ago

Thanks

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Sherry K
Sherry Kohn2 months ago

Many thanks to you !

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Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

thank you for posting

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Debbi W
Debbi W2 months ago

That is good to know and remember, especially for those over sixty.

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Gino C
Past Member 2 months ago

Thanks very much

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