On your bike! Children driven to school are slower learners than those who walk or cycle
Children driven or bussed to school had poorer concentration levels than those who walked or cycled
Impact of exercise so big it could advance a student up to half a year in their studies
15:12 GMT, 26 November 2012
It is common sense that children who walk or cycle to school have a lower risk of obesity than those shuttled to and fro by car.
But driving your youngsters to the gates could also cause their academic work to suffer.
Researchers found children who were driven to school, or
who took public transport, had poorer concentration levels than those who took a more active route such as walking or cycling.
Children who walked or cycled to school had better concentration than their friends who went by bus or car
The joint study
by researchers at two Danish universities found the regular exercise could advance a student up to half a year in their studies.
Children who were driven to school, or who took public transport, performed less well in a test measuring concentration levels, than those who had walked or cycled.
The results surprised the researchers,
as their hypothesis originally focused on the effects of eating
breakfast and lunch on pupils' ability to concentrate.
'The exercise one uses to transport
oneself to school is reflected in the level of concentration one has
circa four hours later,' Niels Egelund, a co-author of the report, told AFP.
'The results showed that having breakfast and lunch has an impact, but not very much compared to having exercised,' Egelund told AFP.
Exercise had more of an impact on concentration than eating breakfast, the researchers found
'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.
In the survey, taken by 19,527 pupils aged five to 19 years, participants were asked about their exercise habits and were then given a basic test measuring their 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.
Previous research from the University of Montreal has found that exercise helps our brains make better use of oxygen.
It may also reduce mental fatigue and sharpen your thinking in between gym sessions.
And last week Swedish researchers reporting in the BMJ said found muscular boys will live longer than their weaker friends.
And even if they are overweight by the time they get to adulthood, those with stronger muscles tend to live longer.