Exercise helps kids think better

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

kid exercising
Play some soccer with your buddies and boost that brain power!

Sometimes, after a long day of school, spending an extra hour exercising doesn’t seem like the most appealing activity. However, it might just be the extra push you need for top grades and superb focus in school! According to one study, students who spend an hour working out after school improve their ability to think!

The experiment involved 222 elementary school students between the ages of 7 and 9. Researchers tested the students’ fitness levels, then placed half into an after school  exercise program called Fitness Improves Thinking Kids (or FIT Kids for short). Meanwhile, the other half were placed on a waiting list, thus creating a comparison group.

The FIT Kids group met for an hour every day after school and engaged in all kinds of healthy behaviors, performing moderate to vigorous exercise and taking lessons in healthy eating. The lucky group also wore various health monitors to track their heart rates and levels of activity.

After about 9 months, researchers gave both the FIT Kids group and the control group examinations to test their fitness levels and thinking skills. According to the results, the kids in the after school exercise program improved their fitness levels by 6 percent and showed a 10 percent improvement on a series of brain function tests! By comparison, the waiting list group only increased their fitness level by 1 percent, and only gained a 5 percent improvement on the thinking tests.

According to the researchers, the children in the FIT Kid program were able to use their brain in a different way than those who weren’t included. Unfortunately, it seems that some schools feel the need to remove after school fitness programs, so hopefully studies like these encourage them not to!

Featured image courtesy of Kyra Malicse on Wikipedia. Image of soccer kids courtesy of Derrick Mealiffe on Flickr.