Exercise Makes Kids’ Brains More Efficient

Exercise Makes Kids’ Brains More Efficient

Science Photo Library/Corbis

There’s plenty of evidence that suggests that children who are more physically active do better in school. But what’s contributing to the boost in brain power?

In a study, published in thejournal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, researchers led by Laura Chaddock-Heyman, a research associate in psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, report that children who are more fit have more white matter in their brains than those who aren’t as fit. The areas of the brain where more white matter was observed are important for attention and memory, and are critical for linking different parts of the brain together.

The study is the first to find a connection between exercise and white matter in children. Previous studies focused on specific structures of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which is involved in memory, and how exercise affected their size and volume. In the current study, however, Chaddock-Heyman and her colleagues show that the improved fitness that comes with exercise may lead to other beneficial changes in the brain as well, such as improving the way signals are sent around the brain via the white matter.

But whether the bulkier white matter actually translates into higher IQ or better school grades isn’t clear yet. Chaddock-Heyman says the study did not track the students’ cognitive abilities, though previous, smaller studies have linked white matter to better math scores, for example. “It’s possible that white matter differences as a function of fitness are driving the cognitive differences we see in the brain,” she says. “But that that’s speculation at this point.”

What the results do show, however, is that physical activity may be an important part of keeping children’s brains active and open to learning. Physical education class and recess may be just as important to doing well in school as time spent in a classroom. “We are hoping our work encourages more support of physically active lifestyles,” says Chaddock-Heyman. She and her colleagues are continuing their work with a five year trial in which children are randomly assigned to an aerobic fitness program or not, so their white matter changes and their academic performance can be tracked.

“More schools are contributing to our more sedentary lifestyle by eliminating or reducing physical activity during the school day,” says Chaddock-Heyman, “and we know that aerobic fitness is related to the size of brain structures as well as their function”


Posted from

Alison Park – @alisonparkny


Cookie Time!


Healthy Cookie Day!


Middle of the week, you can almost see the weekend!

These are great healthy treats for you and the kids. This is a great time to get them to help you out in the kitchen to make a few awesome snacks that you can add to the lunch box list.

Living a healthy lifestyle is not as hard as you think it is. So many people think that eating healthy = deprivation —- not true at all!!  

Here are a few sweet treats to beat some of those negative thoughts.


3 Ingredient -Sugar Free, gluten free (and healthy) peanut butter cookies:

*1/2 cup of peanut butter or almond butter (crunchy or smooth)

*4 tbsp of mashed banana 

*1/4-1/8 tsp of nutmeg (optional)

*splash of vanilla

*1/8 tsp of salt

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Blend all of the ingredients then place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10min.

Let cool for 5min




  Oatmeal Cookies

1+1/2 cups of oats

2- ripe bananas

Options (pick one)   raisins / cranberries/ craisins

Optional” dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice

choice of chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistaschios)

Mix all ingredients and drop cookie size amounts on your baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 min at 350. Cool and enjoy.




Applesauce Cookies:

3 ripe bananas mashed

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 cups of oats

1/4-1/2 cup raisins or chopped nuts (optional)

1 tsp vanilla

dash of cinnamon/nutmeg (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20min.




You don’t need decadent, ooey gooey cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Change your mind about what is delicious and you will love how your body changes!



If you have any healthy recipes you love, please share them.  

A strong back =’s a strong runner

This workout will make you run faster.

BLOG-HEADERS_CARRIEwoman runnAs runners we’re always chasing a better run time. But what are the secrets, tricks or tactics that the fast runners have? Is it a stronger core or a flexibility program or stronger legs that power us through a long run? The answer; all of the above.

Runners need a strong, balanced body from head to toe. While you just want to run (I hear you!) you’re probably not keen on counting sets and reps or following another schedule. When it come down to it, you know your running training schedule and you like it.

One neglected area that doesn’t get any attention unless it is sore is the lower back. We have all felt a tight or strained lower back pain and it’s the pain that you pray will go away. You start making deals with the running Gods. “Please let me wake up pain free” , “I promise I will start stretching after my runs”. A healthy back is just as important as fit legs. If your back isn’t strong you will fatigue faster on your runs; really it’s true. On the flipside a neglected lower back will put strain on our hamstrings, hips and ankles.

Prevention is Key
Here are a few tips and reminders to prevent lower back pain.

Sit during your day job? Then get up as much as possible. Walk to your colleague’s desk, get up for that glass of water. When doing heavy lifting always be aware of your form, bending at the knees, not at the back.

Have your shoes properly fitted. If you’re clocking significant mileage, then change your shoes more frequently. In addition, having a gait analysis may help determine if you should consider orthotics.

Loosen up tight muscle by foam rolling your back, hamstrings and glutes.

Incorporating a strength conditioning routine to your running is essential to be able to #RunStrong. Add in this lower back training on your shorter run or cross-training days. You are doing cross training, right? If not, these exercises will help.

Lower Back Workout

Perform 3-5 sets of 15-20 reps twice a week.

1 )Back extension: On the floor or on a stability ball
2 )Airplane: On your hands and knees, lift opposite arm & opposite leg
3) Swimmer: Lie face down and lift right arm with left leg. Alternate with your left arm and right leg and repeat.
4) Plank / Side Plank
5 )Bridge: Lie face up; lift and hold your glutes off the floor; lower onto the floor and repeat.
6) Superman: Lie face down; lift both arms and legs off of the floor and hold for 15-30 seconds; release and repeat.


Here is the link to the article published at iRun.


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