Get those kids out and run them!

The NY Times Well blog compiles recent research into the link between physical fitness and academic performance. We have previously highlighted research with rats that indicated that rigorous exercise improved performance on an avoidance task, but these new studies have looked at school kids, and not just their performance on tests but physical changes in their brains.

  • A study at the University of Illinois compared performance on a cognitive test between higher and lower fit 9 and 10 year old students. The higher-fit students performed better on the test, and brain scans indicated they had larger basal ganglia, a part of the brain responsible for impulse control and response resolution.
  • A second study by the same researchers compared performance on complex memory tasks between high fit and low fit 9 and 10 year olds. The study found better performance in high fit students, and brain scans showed larger hippocampi, the portion of the brain associated with complex memory tasks.

The authors of the two studies highlight the importance of the findings: “Because children are becoming overweight, unhealthy and unfit, understanding the neurocognitive benefits of an active lifestyle in childhood has important public health and educational implications.” In other words, keep the funding in place for physical education in schools!

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One Response to “Get those kids out and run them!”

  1. Forget the apple. How about a walk a day? « Thoughts from Be Amazing Learning Says:

    […] previously posted about the cognitive benefits of exercise. And it’s a hot topic: Our post referenced a NY Times article, and Scientific Learning […]

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