Bodily-kinesthetic is a learning style often referred to as ‘learning with the hands’ or physical learning.

Basically, people with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence can learn more easily by doing, exploring, and discovering.

One of 9 types of learning styles that make up this theory, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence can often be observed in actors, craftspeople, athletes, inventors, dancers, and surgeons.

According to Carlton College, about 15 percent of the population is strongly aligned with a kinesthetic learning style.

You might be a kinesthetic learner if:

  • You have good muscle memory.
  • You do best academically with hands-on learning such as art, science, or shop class.
  • You often tap your hands or feet in a constant rhythm when focused.
  • You get fidgety sitting in environments that are non-interactive and lecture-based.
  • You’re slower to grasp concepts explained audibly or visually.
  • You’re curious and like to explore your environment.
  • You learn best by doing.
  • You’re good with tools.
  • You can carry on a detailed conversation when performing a physical task.
  • You often grip your pen or pencil tightly and push down hard when you write.
  • You find it easier to listen and comprehend when there’s interaction.
  • You find it easy to mimic the movements and gestures of other people.
  • You usually find it easy to learn new dance or aerobic steps.

The intake and retention of information is key to success in today’s educational system.

As a kinesthetic learner, however, certain school situations, such as lectures, aren’t ideal environments for students who best learn kinesthetically.

Study tips focused on kinesthetic learning may help. Here are some suggestions:

  • Find the right place to study. Make it one that accommodates your need for engagement or movement.
  • Be active. Fidget, chew gum, or do whatever works for you.
  • Take breaks. Don’t force yourself to sit still for long periods of time.
  • Take notes. To stay active and engaged, personalize them with colors, symbols, or diagrams.
  • Teach. Explaining course material to a study group can keep you actively engaged with the material.

The theory of multiple intelligences states that every person has different intelligences and learns in different ways.

For example, some people learn well in mathematical-logic based environments while others learn well in reading and writing (linguistically-based environments).

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed by Harvard University’s Howard Gardner and challenges the educational system that assumes that everybody is capable of learning the same way and that universal testing is a valid appraisal of learning.

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences indicates that everybody has some level of 9 intelligences, but that most people have a dominant intelligence that impacts the way they learn and interact with other people and their environment.

The 9 intelligences are:

  • Bodily-kinesthetic: The ability to physically (through hand and body movements) process information.
  • Verbal-linguistic: The ability to use language and words (sounds, meanings, and rhythms) to comprehend and express complex concepts.
  • Mathematical-logical: The capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns, primarily through inductive reasoning.
  • Musical: The ability to recognize and use rhythm, pitch, tone, and timbre.
  • Visual-spatial: The capacity to understand space and think in images and pictures, visualizing accurately and abstractly.
  • Intrapersonal: The capacity to be self-aware and conscious of your consciousness, including feelings, values, beliefs, self-reflection, and thinking processes.
  • Interpersonal: The capacity to work cooperatively in a group by detecting and responding appropriately to the motivations, moods, and desires of others.
  • Naturalist: The ability to recognize, categorize, and appreciate plants, animals, and other objects in the natural world as opposed to the human-created world.
  • Existential: Has sensitivity and capacity to focus on deep questions about humanity and human existence.

According to the theory of multiple intelligences, every person has different intelligences and learns in different ways.

Bodily-kinesthetic learners are hands-on learners and grasp information more easily by doing, exploring, and discovering.

In learning and life, it’s important to figure out what works best for you and use that to improve.