A child’s attention and memory improves after exercise according to new research supported by the Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh.
Researchers found that pupils’ best responses to tests came after physical activity that was set at their own pace, as opposed to exhaustive exercise.
The study is part of the BBC Learning’s Terrific Scientific campaign – designed to inspire schoolchildren to pursue a career in science – and part-funded by the University of Edinburgh and the Physiological Society. A total of 11 613 children in the UK signed up to participate in the research – including 1 536 from Scotland.
It was found that 15 minutes of self-paced exercise can significantly improve a child’s mood, attention and memory – enhancing their ability to learn.
Overall, the study concluded that exercising leads to improvements in children’s mood and cognition. In most tasks, participating in a run/walk activity was more beneficial. Importantly, this exercise should be in addition to normal physical education.