Exercise tied to kids' academic performance.

Exercise tied to kids' academic performance.

Do kids who are more physically active do better in school?

A study reported recently by the American College of Sports Medicine says so.

Research reported at the ACSM’s annual meeting recently showed a correlation between middle school students’ physical fitness and their performance on standardized tests. The study involved sixth-graders at a central Illinois middle school.

The study reinforces previous research that link academic performance and physical fitness, according to the researchers.

University of Illinois Professor Charles Hillman, a professor in kinesiology and community health, has conducted research with similar findings.

Hillman, who runs the Neurocognitive Kinesiology Lab at the UI, has found that exercising before taking a test requiring children to focus their attention improved performance on the test. The test required children to focus their attention on a particular thing and block out extraneous information.

Studies by Hillman, the researcher cited by the ACSM, and others who have made similar findings have implications for public policy decisions on physical activity for children, including minimum physical education requirements for schoolchildren.

Here’s a link to the ACSM news release: http://bit.ly/ag1Dui.

And here’s a link to a story about Hillman’s research: http://bit.ly/bZxUxo.

Photo below, by Heather Coit: Nine-year-old Savannah Burkhalter uses a treadmill uses a treadmill to exercise, as part of Charles Hillman's research on physical activity and brain function.

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