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A Review of the Relation of Aerobic Fitness and Physical Activity to Brain Structure



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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 2011 17 1 11 Copyright E INS Published by Cambridge University Press 2011 doi 10 1017 S1355617711000567 SYMPOSIUM A Review of the Relation of Aerobic Fitness and Physical Activity to Brain Structure and Function in Children Laura Chaddock 1 2 Matthew B Pontifex 3 Charles H Hillman 2 3 AND Arthur F Kramer1 2 1Department of Psychology University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Urbana Illinois Institute University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Urbana Illinois 3Department of Kinesiology Community Health University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Urbana Illinois 2Beckman RECEIVED December 23 2010 FINAL REVISION March 16 2011 ACCEPTED March 17 2011 Abstract A growing number of schools have increasingly de emphasized the importance of providing physical activity opportunities during the school day despite emerging research that illustrates the deleterious relationship between low levels of aerobic fitness and neurocognition in children Accordingly a brief review of studies that link fitness related differences in brain structure and brain function to cognitive abilities is provided herein Overall the extant literature suggests that childhood aerobic fitness is associated with higher levels of cognition and differences in regional brain structure and function Indeed it has recently been found that aerobic fitness level even predicts cognition over time Given the paucity of work in this area several avenues for future investigations are also highlighted JINS 2011 17 1 11 Keywords Academic achievement Cognition Cognitive control ERPs Exercise MRI Plasticity sedentary behaviors of today Booth Lees 2006 Vaynman Gomez Pinilla 2006 A sedentary lifestyle during childhood not only influences physical health but cognitive and brain health as well That is accumulating evidence suggests that low levels of physical activity and aerobic fitness are associated with declines in academic achievement cognitive abilities brain



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