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Phys ed may be good for the body and the mind (Netherlands)

January 12, 2012

The January issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine contains the results of a Dutch-led study on the relationship between exercise and school performance. After reviewing 10 observational and four intervention studies, and qualifying two as sufficiently high quality, researchers found significant evidence of a positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance.

Researchers determined that participation in physical activity is linked to positive school performance. The article speculates on the reasons behind this, which include:

  • Exercise enhances cognition because of increased blood and oxygen flow
  • The increase in endorphins and norepinephrine during and after exercise decreases stress and improves mood
  • Exercise stimulates the growth of new nerve cells and enhances synaptic plasticity

Investigators stated that further rigorous studies are required to validate these findings and probe the relationship between exercise and improved academic performance.

To read the CBC coverage on this study, go to www.cbc.ca or read the online abstract in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine at www.archpedi.ama-assn.org.

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