A new study suggests that children’s activity levels may affect their thinking skills, enabling them to pay better attention and solve problems.
45 children of normal weight between the ages of 7 and 11 were studied by a research team from the Medical College in Georgia. 24 of them were active and the others were not. Those who were active participated in organized movement or sports activities for more than one hour a week. Another group that was studied were 45 overweight and inactive children.
It is no surprise that the active children had less body fat, and a lower resting heart rate than the overweight children. However, normal weight active children also performed better on mental skills tests than inactive children.
The study, which was published in the Journal Pediatric Exercise Science, found that there is an association between physical activity and children’s mental skills, however it is not a cause and effect relationship.
“Activity made a difference even among normal-weight kids. That verifies that physical activity makes a difference in brain function,” study author Catherine Davis, a clinical health psychologist at the Medical College of Georgia.
Investigators would like to see future studies include active overweight children, to measure the mental benefits of exercise and learn more about the relationship between, weight, exercise, and children’s brains.