Physical exercise and brain health are more connected then you might think. Exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills. In a UBC study researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, boosts the size of the hippocampus, the brain area that takes care of verbal memory and learning. The results were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
In another study conducted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign which was published in August in the online journal PLOS ONE studied a group of 9 and 10 year olds. They found a link between fitness and math ability. They tested the group with standard math, reading exams and physical activity. They scan their brains using an MRI and found that the children who could run for long periods of time had thinner sections of gray matter in the front of their brains. These children also did much better with math tests. The frontal cortex is a key area of the brain for academic performance because it is involved in working memory.
Even though there is a lot of research that physical activity pays off in the classroom, schools have cut back their physical education classes and recess time. As a parent we need to make sure our kids are getting enough physical activity even after school. Really kids should be standing more in class and doing physical activities as they learn. We need to rethink the classic way of learning sitting at a desk as a teacher uses a chalk board…. So many more creative and active ways of learning.
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