Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Study: Youth exercise leads to cognitive development

Monday - 9/29/2014, 4:52am  ET
Paula Wolfson

WASHINGTON -- New research shows that when children exercise their bodies, they are exercising their brains as well.

Scientists at the University of Illinois followed 221 7-, 8- and 9-year-olds for nine months. Half were in an after-school fitness program; the others, on a wait list.  The scientists found that those in the exercise group not only became more physically fit, but also their cognitive skills improved -- most notably, their ability to stay focused and shift easily and accurately from one cognitive task to another.  Specialists in children's health see the findings as more evidence that exercise has an important role to play in boosting the overall health of children.  "I think exercise has a lot of different effects, and it is not just about getting your heart rate up or burning "X" number of calories," says Dr. Nadia Hashimi, a pediatrician who works in the emergency room at Children's National Medical Center.

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