Physically fit children are smarter too

Physically fit children are smarter too

The researchers sorted the children, based on their treadmill runs, into highest-, lowest- and median-fit categories. Only the most- and least-fit groups continued in the study (to provide the greatest contrast).

Both groups completed a series of cognitive challenges involving watching directional arrows on a computer screen and pushing certain keys in order to test how well the children filter out unnecessary information and attend to relevant cues. Finally, the children’s brains were scanned, using magnetic resonance imaging technology to measure the volume of specific areas.

Previous studies found that fitter kids generally scored better on such tests. And in this case, too, those children performed better on the tests. The MRIs showed that fit children had significantly larger basal ganglia, a key part of the brain that aids in maintaining attention and “executive control.”Since both groups of children had similar backgrounds and body mass index, the researchers concluded that being fit had enlarged that portion of their brains.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)