The results of recently published studies suggest that fitter children also have fitter brains. It looks like exercising your body promotes brain health. Is this true at all ages? How does it work? How much exercise should we do?
Physical activity and brain health in children
An emerging literature suggests that physical activity and high levels of aerobic fitness during childhood may enhance cognition. In the 2 most recent studies by Kramer and colleagues (2010), the cognitive performance and the brains of higher-fit and lower-fit 9- and 10-year-old children were examined.
In one study, fitter children did better than less fit children in a task requiring to ignore irrelevant information and attend to relevant cues. Fitter children also had larger basal ganglia (more specifically dorsal striatum) than less fit children. The basal ganglia play a key role in cognitive control (e.g. preparing, initiating, inhibiting, switching responses).
In another study, fitter children did better than less fit children in a task requiring to memorize information. [Read more…] about Fitter bodies = fitter brains. True at all ages?