| by the Nexus Sports Team |
Research from the University of Granada, a Spanish university who is renowned for their international vocation, has proven the positive linkage between physical education & fitness in children and the impacts it portrays on their academic performance in school.
In essence, the more sports you play and the more physical activities you partake in, the more grey matter the body will produce in specific regions of the brain. What regions exactly? The study shows that the regions impacted are those associated with the executive function, learning, motor skills and visual processing.
The study, which is published in The Neuroimage journal, is part of the ActiveBrains project. This project - led by Francisco B. Ortega at the university– is a clinical trial involving more than 100 overweight or obese children.
The project’s aim was to determine whether the “physically active” children’s brains are different from that of children who are “less active” and whether that difference had any impacts on their academic results. In short, the answer was “Yes!”. Increased physical activity does impact the way the brain is structured and those differences are linked to better academic results.
It’s interesting to note that the research also demonstrated that the more motor-related fitness the children partook in, the greater gray matter volume increased in two regions essential for language processing and reading.
Irene Esteban-Cornejo, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Granada and main author of this paper states that increased gray matter volume in the certain regions of the brain - influenced by physical fitness – in turn improves children's academic performance.
She also stated that: "physical fitness is a factor that can be modified through physical exercise, and combining exercises that improve the aerobic capacity and the motor ability would be an effective approach to stimulate brain development and academic performance in overweight/obese children.
Endorphins and fear of obesity are no longer the number one reasons why we register our kids into sports: if you want your child to be smarter, he or she must get out and move!