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Cognitive Function and Physical Activity in Children

  • By: Francois Trudeau & Roy Jesse Shephard
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

Recent fundamental research has reignited interest in the effects of physical activity on cognitive processes. Experimental studies of potential mediating variables point to physiological influences, such as greater arousal and an increased secretion of neurotrophins, and psychosocial influences, such as increased self-esteem and connectedness to schools. In the specific case of sports, experimental studies are limited to demonstrations of greater attention and acute gains of mental performance immediately following such activity. Several quasi-experimental studies of other types of physical activity have been completed, mainly in primary school students; these have found no decrease in academic performance despite a curtailing of the time allocated to the teaching of academic subjects. Indeed, in some cases, experimental students undertaking more physical activity have outperformed control students. Many investigators ...

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