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Why To Exercise Today: Better Grades

This article is more than 9 years old.

Granted, this is a study about kids, but don't we all want better grades in life, too?

Reuters reports here today:

"Children who get more exercise also tend to do better in school, whether the exercise comes as recess, physical education classes or getting exercise on the way to school, according to an international study. The findings, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, come as U.S. schools in general cut physical activity time in favor of more academic test preparation."

Dr. John Ratey, a Cambridge-based psychiatrist and author of the excellent book "Spark," is all over the topic of how exercise helps children learn, and I see on his Website that it even hosts a documentary called "Brain Gains" about the effects of pilot exercise programs in schools.

Reuters reports:

Three of the four studies involving an exercise intervention found that students given more exercise time scored higher on measures of academic performance.

In one report from the United States, second and third graders who got an extra 90 minutes of physical activity per week did better on a test of spelling, reading and math, along with gaining less weight over the next three years.

That may be because children are better behaved and can concentrate better when they get enough exercise, or because physical activity improves blood flow to the brain and boosts mood, the researchers wrote.

This program aired on January 4, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.