A new study led by author Professor Charles Hillman of the University of Illinois shows that you might want to get your kids out for more exercise to improve their reading. Children who are physically fit have faster brain responses when reading than do their less fit peers, according to the study.
They explain that they did not prove that higher levels of fitness don’t guarantee better reading proficiency, but they do see a connection.
The researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) to capture electrical impulses associated with brain activity for reading and doing other activities. Researchers looked at brain waveforms N400 and P600 and found that children who were more fit had higher amplitude N400 and P600 waves than their less-fit friends when reading sentences.
As Professor Hillman explained, “Previous reports have shown that greater N400 amplitude is seen in higher-ability readers…All we know is there is something different about higher and lower fit kids. But more work must be done to tease out the causes of improved cognition in kids who are more fit.”
As Professor Hillman concluded, “Many studies conducted in the last decade, on children and older adults have repeatedly demonstrated an effect of increases in either physical activity in one’s lifestyle or improvements in aerobic fitness, and the implications of those health behaviors for brain structure, brain function and cognitive performance.”