Exercise may actually get your kid's brain in shape, a new study finds. It doesn't prove it will make your kids smarter but it hints at it.
The study was conducted by Laura Chaddock-Heyman, a postdoctoral researcher in the psychology department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"Our work suggests that aerobically fit and physically fit children have improved brain health and superior cognitive [thinking] skills than their less-fit peers," she said. The hope is that these findings will reinforce the importance of fitness during development.
According to a review of 14 studies published in 2012 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, there is a clear connection between physical fitness and academic performance: Students who were physically active were more likely to get better grades, score higher on cognitive tests, or both.
The latest research on fitness and brainpower, published in 2014 in the journal Brain and Cognition, adds to those discoveries. Results showed that kids who were more aerobically fit had better language skills than kids who weren't as fit.
They found that the kids who were more in shape — those who were better at taking up oxygen during exercise — tended to have faster neuroelectric responses associated with understanding context and grammar while reading. These kids also performed better on tests that included the language skills they need for school.
So instead of getting a tutor for your kids this year you may want to get them a bike and a ball and tell them to go play outside.