By: Hanif Ahmad Kautsar Djuenaedy Bi’14
The stereotypical American schoolyard fight pits the jocks against the nerds. The idea of “Brains vs Brawns” gives rise to the idea that the two are irreconcilable. However, studies have shown that these two might be linked after all.
Philip D. Tomporowski et al. (2008) Publish a report reviewing studies on the effects of exercise on the intelligence, cognitionm and academic achievment of children. The review found that there are increases in the social IQ of children who experienced a regular exercise routine however, there is little to no noticeable increase in their performance or overall IQ. This may be due to the fact that the indicator used in these studies measures global IQ which may not be sensitive enough to detect subtle changes in intelligence.
Cognition is the study of the mental process which includes operations of the mind including perception, attention, memory, information processing, and others. Overall, the mental processes of children who exercise regularly increased in speed and accuracy regardless of the intensity of the exercise program. Regular aerobic exercise increases a child’s creativity and originality.
Exercise may improve a child’s cogniition and creativity however, results for its effects on their academic achievements are mixed. Correlational studies seems to indicate an increase in academic achievement in children who undertake regular exercise program but the correlation is weak.
Longitudinal studies found mixed results with some studies finding no difference in academic achievement between children who exercise regularly and those who do not while others found negative correlation. Experimental studies also had the same mixed results.
The increase in cognition function is most likely due to the fact that exercise increases blood flow into the brain which also boosts the oxygen in the brain, giving energy as well as promoting the growth of neurons and the production of neurotransmitters. The lack of academic achievement is not only correlated with brain function but also on the study behavior of the children which varies with each student. Exercise may improve the mental processes of the brain, which will help students understand school material better, but improving academic achievement cannot be reached without effective study habits.
The perennial fight between nerd and jock maybe out if date with more and more studies showing links between an increase in cognition and exercise. The brain can improve with a regular exercise routine. However, if students are to hope to make up for their grades, then they cannot rely solely on daily sprints but must also improve their study habits
Tomporowski, P. D., Davis, C. L., Miller, P. H.,
& Naglieri, J. A. (2008). Exercise and Children’s Intelligence, Cognition,
and Academic Achievement. Educ Psychol, 20(2):111-131.
BBC. (2014). “Brain: Why exercise boosts IQ”. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141010-why-exercise-boosts-iq