Are Fit Kids Smarter?

Another Reason for Kids to Stay in Shape




How important is it that kids engage in physical activity? Very, according to a recent study published in the journal, Brair Research. Kids that are more physically active tend to have a better-developed brain, which in turn helps them perform better on memory tests.

The study involved 49 children, ages 9 and 10, who ran on a treadmill to measure their oxygen intake, a standard measure of fitness. Subsequent magnetic resonance imaging data of the children found that the more physically fit kids tended to have a larger hippocampus—about 12 percent bigger, relative to total brain size—than their out-of-shape peers and outperformed them on relational memory tests. The hippocampus is known to be important in learning and memory.

The new findings suggest that interventions to increase childhood physical activity could have an effect on brain development. “We knew that experience and environmental factors and socioeconomic status all impact brain development,” says Art Kramer, the University of Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute director who led the study. “It’s not easy to do something about your economic status, but here’s something that we can do something about.”


Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Delayed Kindergarten Reduces Attention Deficit

Danish children that start kindergarten at age 6 instead of 5 are far less likely to be inattentive or hyperactive five years later.

Kids Learn Social Skills Through Pretending and Joking

Toddlers that were joked around with and played “pretend” activities developed better interpersonal skills later in life.

Pre-K Education Linked to Better Health 26 Years Later

South Carolina 4-year-olds who received a pre-K schooling focused on language skills had healthier hearts and no signs of metabolic syndrome at age 30.

Less Sleep Means Lower Grades

Poor sleep hygiene is associated with lower grades in high school and college.

Regular Bedtimes Make Kids Smarter

Children that get adequate sleep score higher on a range of developmental assessments.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags