Children’s Brain Development Linked to Physical Exercise

Child receiving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Studies show a link between brain development and physical fitness in 9- and 10-year-old children. The study proves children who are more fit perform better on memory tests than less-fit children.

This study used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to determine the size of the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is very important in both learning and memory in human beings of all ages. Studies of adults and animals alike have proven exercise does increase hippocampus size which is directly related to mental performance.

While studying animals, some researchers have determined exercise can significantly increase new cell growth and promote cell survival and memory function.

A common research study to determine fitness levels is the measurement of how efficiently a subject can use oxygen during exercise. Throughout this study, physically fit children showed to be “much more efficient” at oxygen utilization than the less-fit children.

Researchers explain there is not much one can do about their genetics, but promoting exercise to increase brain function may be a key to success for developing children.