Run along and learn!

Want to help your kids use their minds well? Take them out for a 20-minute run! More aerobic exercise produces specific growth factors and proteins that stimulate young people’s brains, according to several new studies of the effect of exercise described in the New York Times this week.

One study centered on how such exercise affects young people’s complex memory function (associated with the hippocampus in the brain). Another looked at its effect on the part of the brain that aids in maintaining attention and “executive control.” Together, those two brain areas enable some of the most intricate thinking, researchers pointed out. And they saw a difference in kids after even a short period of vigorous walking.

These findings arrive at an important time, points out Gretchen Reynolds in the Times:

For budgetary and administrative reasons, school boards are curtailing physical education, while on their own, children grow increasingly sluggish. Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that roughly a quarter of children participate in zero physical activity outside of school.

Photo courtesy of Will Okun

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