Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kids who bike or walk to school concentrate better

According to recent Dutch study, children who bike or walk to school perform measurably better on tests of concentration ability. The results of the study were reported in the Atlantic Cities article The Link Between Kids Who Walk or Bike to School and Concentration
The survey looked at nearly 20,000 Danish kids between the ages of 5 and 19. It found that kids who cycled or walked to school, rather than traveling by car or public transportation, performed measurably better on tasks demanding concentration, such as solving puzzles, and that the effects lasted for up to four hours after they got to school.

The study was part of "Mass Experiment 2012," a Danish project that looked at the links between concentration, diet, and exercise.

Niels Egelund of Aarhus University in Denmark, who conducted the research, told AFP that he was surprised that the effect of exercise was greater than that of diet:
"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.
The process of getting yourself from point A to point B has cognitive effects that researchers do not yet fully understand. I wrote last year about Bruce Appleyard’s examination of cognitive mapping, in which he compared children who were driven everywhere with those who were free to navigate their neighborhoods on their own. His work revealed that the kids whose parents chauffeured them had a much poorer comprehension of the geography of the places they lived, and also a less fine-grained knowledge of the landscape around them.



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