Youth exercise contributes to Cognitive Development

Encouraging children to exercise may be important not only for physical health but also for mental fitness. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a literature review of 111 studies and found that doing both cardiovascular exercise and strength training enhances brain fitness, academic achievement, information processing and decision-making skills.  Findings suggested that exercising aerobically in childhood stimulates development of cognitive abilities that provide benefits throughout life.

The researchers noted “the interaction between physical health, brain, and cognitive abilities underlying aspects of academic achievement, which will further research may serve to promote legislative changes directed at the creation of more physical activity opportunities for our children and the promotion of increased quality of life.”

The research review was published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (2011; 17, 1-11)