education -- September 19, 2013 at 10:20 AM ET
Fit kids learn more effectively
Scientists know physical activity can help children focus better at school and that it can even help them perform better academically. But it wasn't until a recent study, conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, that the effects of physical fitness on the learning process were explored. Researchers found that children who are physically fit can learn and retain new information more effectively than their out-of-shape counterparts.
The study's findings suggest that "higher levels of fitness have their greatest impact in the most challenging situations," referring to those situations that young people encounter academically and intellectually.
This raises concerns about cutting physical education programs, a move some schools are making in order to save funds. As the study notes, "Reducing or eliminating physical education in schools, as is often done in tight financial times, may not be the best way to ensure educational success among our young people."