How does movement affect human memory?

How movement and memory interact

If a newborn child is kicking awkwardly, it can be an expression of discomfort. But it is not a purposeful act. Only a few movement patterns such as the grasping reflex are inscribed in the brain from the start. All other movement sequences only develop through trial and error.

Nerve cells store and process information. With 100 billion of them, the brain is already lavishly equipped at birth compared to other organs. However, these masses of neurons are of little use unless they are interconnected. A single nerve cell can establish contact with up to 10,000 other neurons via synapses. But it does not do this automatically. It takes a stimulus, a sensory perception that is translated into signals and drives the re-connection.

This desire for new impulses and challenges, which seems to be inherent in the brain, is also the fuel for the child's urge to move. “Children are movement beings”, says Renate Zimmer, educational scientist and professor for sports and movement science at the University of Osnabrück. “You want to understand the world in the truest sense of the word.” This can only be achieved through physical activity. Seal, crawl, get up. The range is growing every day. Walking upright, balancing, at some point moving forward on the balance bike. "Motor learning doesn't follow a rigid pattern," explains Zimmer, "but the goal is always the same: independence and self-confidence."