- Regular physical fitness can improve the child’s academic performance
- Physical fitness increases the volume of grey matter in two specific regions of the brain - the inferior frontal gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus
- Physical fitness can improve the aerobic capacity and the motor ability in children
Physical fitness can increase the volume of grey matter in two specific regions of the brain in children, which was found to improve their academic performance, reveals a new study.
Aerobic capacity was found to be linked to higher grey matter volume in brain regions, which is essential for the executive function and also for learning, motor and visual processes.
About 100 overweight or obese children were included in the study. The study was published in the journal NeuroImage.
Later, the effects were compared with their academic performance, said Francisco B Ortega, who is from the University of Granada, Spain.
"Physical fitness in children is linked in a direct way to important brain structure differences, and such differences are reflected in the children's academic performance," said Ortega, who led the study.
In this study, the motor ability was associated with higher grey matter volume in two regions - the inferior frontal gyrus and the superior temporal gyrus. These regions are essential for language processing and reading.
However, muscular strength showed there was no association found between muscular strength and gray matter volume in any brain region.
Irene Esteban-Cornejo, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Granada, said that the children's academic performance could be improved with physical fitness, as it can be influenced by grey matter volume in the cortical and subcortical regions.
"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 or obese children," said Esteban-Cornejo.
Benefits of Health-Related Physical Fitness
The scales by which fitness of an individual can be measured is through stamina, strength, speed and ideal body weight
The overall physical ability of an individual to do any form of activity can be improved with fitness. Building muscles are as important as being able to walk a couple of kilometers.
The benefits physically fitness include:
Improved Performance of Physical Activities: An individual with a moderate to high level of muscular strength and endurance can perform everyday tasks easily, as the oxygen consumption is maximal.
Injury prevention: Good muscle strength and, mainly, endurance in the abdomen, hips, lower back, and legs, can help maintain the spine in proper alignment, which can prevent low-back pain.
Improved muscle and bone health with aging: Good muscular strength can help people live healthier and longer lives. Regular strength training program can prevent tissues and nerves from degeneration, and the risk of hip fractures and other life-threatening injuries can be reduced.
Strength training and endurance training can enhance the self-image of men and women by providing stronger, firmer-looking muscles and a well toned, healthy-looking body.
Improved body composition: Ideal body weight can impart benefits on the overall well being of an individual. The proportion of fat, muscle mass, and lean mass determines the risk of obesity, high cholesterol levels, heart problems, diabetes, and cancer. Increasing muscle mass by strength training can help to maintain a proportionate body composition.
- Physical Activity and Health - (https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm)