Why is Keeping Children Physically Fit Good for Their Brains?

Henriette van Pragg and her colleagues at the Salk Institute, compared inactive mice with mice that ran an average of three miles a day.   According to their study, the active mice showed significant brain growth.  Additionally, the brain cells in the active mice showed an increased efficiency of communication between neurons.

Why it works

Exercise has been proven to elevate mood.  For decades, studies have shown that exercise:

  • increases BDNF levels, a substance that is essential for brain cell growth
  • stimulates the birth of new neurons
  •  enhances brain plasticity

What about exercise for kids?

Studies done with children, have shown that consistent exercise makes kids less impulsive and more focused.

Kids who have higher aerobic fitness performed with more accuracy, and quicker reaction times, as well.

Did you know that children who exercise regularly also tend to do better in math? 


According to a study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, aerobic fitness results in a thinner layer of gray matter in the brains of young children. This difference in brain structure, leads to better cognitive control, memory, key skills related to math.

In addition, other studies indicate that children who are fit usually have more brain volume within the brain area related to memory. Additionally, these children showed indications of enhanced long-range retention. Within one study, children memorized new regions on a map equally well, irrespective of their levels of fitness. However, as they were given tests concerning their retention the next day, the more active kids performed better.

Now called the “childhood obesity epidemic” the prevalence of overweight children has increased dramatically over the past several decades. With it, comes incidences of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Some might ask, Why not engage them in sports?

The answer is that sports are not universally engaging to all children. Dr. Bruce Bailey, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Brigham Young University says, “Previously we’ve focused on sports as a way to get children physically active,” but not all of them are interested in organized sports. He adds, “Schools are trying to make their P.E. classes more inclusive to children of different sizes and interests…” read more about how SMARTfit™ is combating childhood obesity with fitness games.

SMARTfit, Inc systems combine brain fitness with body fitness, improving physical, sensory, and cognitive performance creating an exiting experience for all ages and abilities. Our SMARTfit™ exercise technology utilizes the latest in Brain Body Exercise Science to bring you a unique solution that improves mental and physical fitness. To learn more contact us at 1-800-900-8542 x 110.


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