To Your Health
September, 2015 (Vol. 09, Issue 09)
Calling All Mathletes
By Editorial Staff
We should all encourage children to participate in daily physical activity because of the profound anti-aging, disease-preventing benefits exercise provides, but there's another reason, according to recent research: being fit can make you a better student. In the study, researchers discovered that 9-10-year-olds who performed better on a treadmill test also scored higher on a standardized math exam compared to their less-fit peers.
What's more, MRI scans revealed that children who performed better on the treadmill test also had thinner sections of gray matter in the frontal cortex, suggesting a higher level of brain maturity. And interestingly enough, that area of the brain is associated with working memory and cognitive flexibility – two essential qualities when it comes to doing math.
The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition recommends adolescents ages 6-17 participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis, most of which should be moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise. Muscle- and bone-strengthening activities should be pursued at least three days of the week. For complete guidelines by age, click here. Talk to your doctor for more information.