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Exercise and Working Memory in School Children

Pediatric Exercise Science published research examining the role of exercise on the cognitive development in children including working memory (WM) and inattentiveness in a large sample of 2897 schoolchildren (7-10 years old).  Data was collected using the n-back task (2- and 3-back), the attentional network task (ANT) and parent questionnaire with information about the extracurricular exercise of their child and commuting to school.

The results indicated that:

  • exercising twice per week or more was associated with higher working memory scores and lower inattentiveness scores at baseline when compared with exercising only once per week or less.
  • active commuting for more than 50 min was associated with better 3-back scores at baseline, as compared with passive commuting.
  • no consistent associations were found between physical activity and cognitive growth.

The researchers concluded that children with high levels of physical activity performed better in cognitive tasks.

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