Physically fit kids are better at learning

New study explores the effect of physical fitness on 9-10 year olds

kids-learningPhysically fit children have better learning and are better in memorising things,  according to study by Lauren Raine and team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

48 kids in the age range of 9 – 10 years had to memorise names and locations on a map. To negate the effect of prior knowledge, all names and locations were fictitious. The testing of how much they grasped was done in two ways—some kids learnt all the things and were tested, where as some studied one subset and were tested after which they proceeded to the next subset to be learnt.

Half of the kids were in top physical fitness where as half of the children were belonged to the lowest 30 per cent fitness level of kids their age. In the memory tests, the fitter kids performed better than the unfit ones.

The interesting aspect of the study was that children who learnt all at once and were tested after all learning did better than the rest. It has been previously suggested that testing interspersed with learning is better for children because it puts less pressure on the kids. But the new study shows otherwise —that this challenge, in fact, promotes better learning in physically fit children.

Based on these results, the team suggests that fitness levels affect learning when the kids have to learn in challenging circumstances , and that the higher level of fitness benefits the learning and memory. They conclude, "Future research should focus on the manner in which these factors impact the neural processes of children during learning."

They also believe that, "Reducing or eliminating physical education in schools, as is often done in tight financial times, may not be the best way to ensure educational success among our young people."

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