Kids having a tough time with their math homework? Maybe it’s time to go for a bike ride or play some ball in the backyard. New research is now suggesting that kids who are more fit and healthy tend to do better at school, especially in the subject of math.
CNN reports about the study published in the online journal PLOS ONE that studied a small group of kids ages 9 and 10 having them take standardized math and reading exams, studying their brain images through MRI and giving them a physical endurance test. Scientists found that the children in this age group that could last the longest running on a treadmill also had signs of a more mature brain than the others. Subsequently, those who could stay physically active for longer also scored better on the standardized tests, especially the math section.
Co-author of the study, Charles H. Hillman, explains how the brain matures at this age and what this could mean for kids who are more physically fit. He says, “It's part of a natural process that the brain goes through a period of thinning during adolescence (as) brain connections that are deemed not necessary are thinned out. (Fit) kids may be further along in this maturation process.” Hillman goes on to explain that it is this very part of the brain that may be responsible for our working memory, helpful in solving math problems and tuning out distractions.
Researchers involved in the study believe the findings highlight the importance of adding physical fitness to every school day. In a time when many schools are focusing more on test readiness and academics, the study recommends at least one hour per school day of a physical education class and/or recess.
What do you think of the study that suggests kids who are more fit and active tend to do better on tests?
Does your child’s school provide enough time for your child to be physically active every day?