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Cycling or Walking to School Improves Concentration

Update Date: Nov 24, 2012 11:40 AM EST

Staying active is beneficial for children, adults and the elderly alike. Apart from the benefits to the body, it also positively impacts the brain functioning also. A new research suggests that children who exercise before going to school have better concentration in the classroom, when compared to those who don't exercise. Exercises such as cycling or simply walking to school can increase a child's attentiveness, the Danish study says.  

The study findings reveal that children who are driven to school, or those who took public transport, have lower scores in tests that measure concentration levels compared to those walked or cycled to school. The study was conducted by researchers at the universities in Copenhagen and Aarhus.

"The exercise one uses to transport oneself to school is reflected in the level of concentration one has circa four hours later," said Niels Egelund, a co-author of the report.

The findings of the study surprised the researchers since the study was originally aimed at finding the effects of eating breakfast and lunch on pupils' ability to concentrate.

"The results showed that having breakfast and lunch has an impact, but not very much compared to having exercised," Egelund told AFP. "As a third-grade pupil, if you exercise and bike to school, your ability to concentrate increases to the equivalent of someone half a year further in their studies," he added.

For the study, the researchers surveyed 19,527 students aged between 5 and 19 years. The participants were asked questions pertaining to their habits of exercising and physical activities and were also asked to undergo basic tests of measuring concentration.

"Most people know the feeling of being refreshed after having exercised, but it is surprising that the effect lasts for so long," Egelund said.

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