Regular participation in physical activity and higher levels of physical fitness have been linked to improved academic performance and brain function, including attention and memory.
- Single sessions of physical activity can enhance attention and memory.
- One study found that after walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes, children responded to test questions with greater accuracy and had more brain activity than children who had been sitting. Children also completed learning tasks faster and more accurately following physical activity.
- Physically fit children have larger hippocampal volume and basal ganglia, brain components both connected with learning.
- This research brief reviewed scientific articles on connections between physical activity and fitness and academic performance and the effects of physical activity on the developing brain.
Castelli, D.M., Glowacki, E., Barcelona, J.M., Calvert, H.G., & Hwang, J. (2015). Active Education: Growing Evidence on Physical Activity and Academic Performance. [Research brief.] Active Living Research. http://activelivingresearch.org/sites/default/files/ALR_Brief_ActiveEducation_Jan2015.pdf