After-School Exercise Programs May Improve Cognitive Skills


According to a new study that was done under the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Children who participate in a physical activity program after school do better on thinking tasks than kids who do not participate in any physical activity program after school.

The kids in the study were enrolled in the FITKids program, which has two hours of physical activity and involves at least 70 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity at different stations. The program ends with 45 minutes of organizational games centered on a specific skill.

The children who were in the FITkids program showed a  6% increase in aerobic ability and also improved on cognitive tasks. The study analyzed the group of children over a 9-month period and tested their abilities to block out distractions, focus, and multitask. The study also suggests that physical activity helps the brain be healthier. This is confirmation that although an increasing number of schools are cutting out recess time and physical activity, it will have unintended consequences on the children’s ability to focus and health.  Because children go through a lot of development during their childhood years, an active and healthy lifestyle is vital and can protect the brain and body’s health.


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