UT Research Finds That Regular Exercise Makes You Smarter

exerciseForget the ‘dumb jocks’ stereotyping.

The Times Of India Mumbai’s Meghna Mukherjee reports that research conducted at the University Of Texas indicates that exercising daily boosts your memory power and as little as a 30-minute daily workout could make you smarter and improve academic performance.

Ms. Mukherjee notes that a UT analysis of information from more than 1,100 college students about their regular weekly exercise correlated with their grades found that students who got ‘A’ marks exercised for at least 30 minutes — 3.52 times a week — whereas people with C, D or an F grades only exercised for about 2.81 times a week. She cites fitness expert Althea Shah observing that: “Exercise improves your mood. It works as an antidepressant and thus helps lift your mood instantly. Apart from this, it also helps you to concentrate on things that you do on a daily basis. So, working out on a daily basis can actually make you smarter and more confident about yourself.”

In his 2008 book: “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” Cambridge, Massachusetts psychiatrist and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School Dr. John Ratey explores the neuroscience behind potential beneficial effects of aerobic exercise on anxiety, stress, depression, learning, aging, and even attention deficit disorder.

Recognized by his peers as one of the Best Doctors in America since 1997, and an internationally recognized expert in Neuropsychiatry, Dr. Ratey has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, and 8 books published in 14 languages, including the ADD-ADHD “Driven to Distraction” series with Ned Hallowell, MD. With the publication of “Spark” Dr. Ratey has established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection. He also serves as Adjunct Professor at National Taiwan Sports University and is Reebok’s Ambassador for Active Kids.

Woman Stretching Before Exercising

You can check out Dr. John Ratey speaking on Exercise & Learning in this YouTube video: http://goo.gl/beAH9

A study led by Dr. Catherine Davis, clinical health psychologist at the Medical College of Georgia found that just three months of daily, vigorous physical activity in overweight children improves their thinking and reduces their diabetes risk. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, which show the brain at work, were performed on a percentage of children in each group and found those who exercised had different patterns of brain activity during an executive function task.

A 2012 study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics entitled “Physical Activity and Performance at School: A Systematic Review of the Literature Including a Methodological Quality Assessment” (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(1):49-55. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.716) co-authored by Dr. Amika Singh, PhD of the Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research and colleagues, found that in 10 observational and 4 intervention studies the quality score ranged from 22% to 75%. Two studies were scored as high quality. Based on the results of the best-evidence synthesis, the researchers found evidence of a significant longitudinal positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance, and conclude that participation in physical activity is positively related to academic performance in children.

They note that while schools are able to offer unique opportunities for structured physical activity for children, there is a tendency to cut back physical education lessons, and that increasing pressures to improve academic scores often lead to additional instructional time for subjects such as mathematics and language at the cost of time for being physically active. Reportedly, only 6 percent of American high schools offer a daily gym class. However that could be counterproductive based on the study’s findings.

A report by Mercola.com says that A test program at Chicago-area Naperville Central High School in Illinois illustrated the power of exercise to boost school performance in a powerful way. Naperville CHS students participated in a dynamic morning exercise program and had access to exercise bikes and balls throughout the day in their classrooms. The results: those who participated nearly doubled their reading scores. The article also cites a review of 14 studies ranging in size from as few as 50 participants to as many as 12,000, also demonstrating that the more physically active schoolchildren are, the better they do academically.


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