A new study suggests that physically fit children have differences in their brain structure which gives them a good chance to perform well in Math and other subjects, CNN reports.
According to this study, developments of parts of the brain largely important for studying may be enhanced or inhibited depending on the level of their physical activity.
When nine and ten year-old children were mentally examined with standardized math and reading questions while being measured with their physical endurance on a treadmill, through a MRI scan, it was revealed that children who are physically fit had thinner sections of gray matter in front of their brains, signifying more brain maturation than those with lower stamina.
One of the authors of the study, Professor Charles Hillman of the Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois, explains, “It’s part of a natural process that the brain goes through a period of thinning during adolescence (as) brain connections that are deemed not necessary are thinned out. (Fit) kids may be further along in this maturation process.”
He further explained that, “this part of the brain, also called the frontal cortex, could be especially key for academic performance because it is involved in working memory, which helps us figure out math problems, for example, and cognitive flexibility, or the ability to tune out distractions.
Earlier studies have linked physical fitness with changes in other regions of the brain, such as a larger hippocampus. A combination of areas in the brain, and connections between them, are probably important for scholarly tasks, Hillman said. And development of these areas may be either spurred or stagnated depending on exercise.
Based on the findings of this research, it is recommended that children have at least one hour of rigorous physical activity everyday. Achieving this goal will require participation from the school and the parents.