Researchers at the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain found exercise boosted grey matter in regions of the brain that are important for functioning as well as for learning, motor and visual processes.
The study, published in Neuroimage, is part of the ActiveBrains project, which is a randomised clinical trial involving overweight or obese children, led by Francisco Ortega.
Researchers found that as fitness levels rose so did grey matter in seven parts of the brain. However, there was no change in the brains of the children who did no extra exercise.
According to Irene Esteban-Cornejo, the lead author of the paper, grey matter volume in regions of the brain influenced by physical fitness improves children’s academic performance and they are therefore encouraging Schools to teach PE daily to boost children's brains.
Read more about the survey and its findings here.
What are we doing about this in Greater Manchester?
As outlined in our new Strategy ‘Changing Our Lives Together’, GreaterSport want to make Greater Manchester the best place in England for children and young people to grow up, developing their life chances through a more active lifestyle. This is an ambition shared with Greater Manchester Moving, the plan for physical activity and sport in Greater Manchester.
We are working with a range of education, health and transport partners to support and enable schools to embed physical activity into their curriculum and whole school culture. One such approach we are promoting is The Daily Mile which is a profoundly simple, but effective initiative that gets children walking, jogging or running for 15 minutes each day in school. Backed by the Mayor of Greater Manchester (promo film here), over 350 schools in Greater Manchester are implementing this and evaluations have already found that regular exercise is giving children a daily boost, improving their concentration, behaviour and confidence and ultimately, performance in the classroom.
If you are a teacher wanting to get more activity into the school day but are wondering how then email our Senior Development Manager Matt Stocks ([email protected]) who would be happy to help and offer suggestions.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic numerous organisations have been conducting research and exploring the implications of the pandemic and lockdown on a number of factors, including physical activity.
Better Health will help capture the imagination of the nation, using this unique moment in time to help kick start our health – to eat better and get moving.