TEACHING physical education (PE) to children every day increases brain size and improves academic performance, according to a new study.
Scientists at the University of Granada in Spain found that kids who took part in exercise activity for at least three evenings every week had more grey matter (tissue) in areas of the brain linked to reading and verbal communication.
The study, published in the journal Neuroimage, examined the brains of 100 overweight or obese children. Children with higher fitness levels achieved higher academic results and picked up knowledge better.
Fifty of the youngsters took part in fitness exercises. The more they exercised, the more their grey matter increased. But there was no change in the brains of the 50 children who did no extra exercise.
Professor Francisco Ortega said: “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. I believe that there is strong evidence supporting the need for PE every day.”
The researchers have called on politicians and teachers worldwide to take action and introduce more PE lessons into the school day.