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What One Simple Thing Makes Kids Smarter?

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What One Simple Thing Makes Kids Smarter?

Photo Courtesy Of: †iStockphoto/Thinkstock

An extensive review of relevant research has demonstrated that the more physically active schoolchildren are, the better they do academically.

Researchers analyzed 14 studies, ranging in size from as few as 50 participants to as many as 12,000.

All of the studies involved children between the ages of 6 and 18.

According to the authors:

“Physical activity and sports are generally promoted for their positive effect on children’s physical health; regular participation in physical activity in childhood is associated with a decreased cardiovascular risk in youth and adulthood.

There is also a growing body of literature suggesting that physical activity has beneficial effects on several mental health outcomes, including health-related quality of life and better mood states.

In addition… there is a strong belief that regular participation in physical activity is linked to enhancement of brain function and cognition, thereby positively influencing academic performance.

There are several hypothesized mechanisms for why exercise is beneficial for cognition, including:

(1)† Increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain

(2)† Increased levels of norepinephrine and endorphins resulting in a reduction of stress and an improvement of mood

(3)† Increased growth factors that help to create new nerve cells and support synaptic plasticity

… The increasing pressures to improve academic scores often lead to additional instructional time for subjects such as mathematics and language at the cost of time for being physically active. Given the suggested relationship and the ongoing discussions on the replacement of physical education lessons by academic subjects, we aimed to review the evidence on the longitudinal relationship between these two variables…”

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90ís he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.


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10:41AM PDT on Jun 22, 2013

Thank you Dr. Mercola, for Sharing this!

4:15PM PDT on May 29, 2013

"Those who participated nearly doubled their reading scores, and math scores increased TWENTYFOLD!"
(caps are mine)

Didn't this strike anybody else as odd? Just how low WERE those math scores? In order to hit 100%, they'd only need to have had a previous mark of 5.

I believe the cover letter of the study says the math scores went up by a factor of twenty. Maybe he meant 20% and just worded it incorrectly. The staff seem too involved to have allowed scores to fall that low. A 20% increase in math is pretty significant.

Doubling reading scores? That's not hard to believe. Too many kids read way below their level of aptitude because they haven't been taught or challenged well enough. Just the fact that they're testing reading in HIGH SCHOOL is reason enough to suspect the curriculum for short changing these kids. By high school they should have learned enough that redeeming their reading skills should come fairly easy with the right kind of help and encouragement. But math relies too much on specific skills and aptitudes to be able to increase marks that significantly in a semester or two. Actually, I couldn't find anywhere that it noted the length of the experiment.

I did find it hilarious where it said that fidgeting and moving around helped kids concentrate. But those are the kids with ADHD! Some of us always got in trouble for fidgeting. At least I never fell out of my chair like my son did - several times. Twice I had to pick him up earl

9:53AM PDT on May 29, 2013


6:51AM PDT on May 29, 2013


7:12AM PDT on May 17, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:07AM PDT on May 16, 2013

Very true. Thanks for sharing.

11:41AM PDT on May 1, 2013

1 simple thing takes 5 pages to explain? Perhaps you could have done better if you followed you own advice. Personally I would just give them house / gardening work to do.

11:34AM PDT on May 1, 2013


11:26AM PDT on May 1, 2013

I was an excessively lazy child but always did well academically. Now, of course, my ways have caught up with me, and I really ought to be exercising. I'm not physically very vain, so I've been trying to motivate myself by reminding myself that exercise is supposed to be good for the brain...

8:53PM PDT on Apr 14, 2013

Bring back recess and take away cellphone, computer games and other such BS.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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