Yes, exercise has been shown to improve learning. Here's how:
Cardiovascular Exercise: Cardiovascular exercise, such as steady-state activities where you're breathing hard but not too hard, can enhance learning and memory. This is believed to be due to improvements in cardiovascular fitness indirectly impacting the ability of the dentate gyrus, a part of the hippocampus involved in memory formation, to create new neurons. This process is known as neurogenesis.
Resistance Exercise: Resistance exercise can increase the amount of slow wave sleep, which is involved in motor learning and the acquisition of fine detailed information.
Timing of Exercise: The timing of exercise can also play a role. Wendy Suzuki's lab found that exercise can enhance learning and memory for up to two hours after the activity. If the exercise is intense enough to spike adrenaline, it's beneficial to place it after a learning bout. If the exercise is aimed at enhancing blood flow and osteocalcin release, it's beneficial to do it one to three hours before learning.
Remember, these findings are based on current research and may be subject to further refinement as more studies are conducted.