Can Exercise Make Kids Smarter?

Everyone knows how important exercise is for children’s physical health, but research suggests it can also have a significant effect on their mental abilities. There are several ways in which regular exercise can help to improve children’s academic performance as well as helping to make them happier and healthier.

Photo by victoria harjadi / CC BY

Brain function

Physical activity helps to improve the flow of blood around our bodies, including to the brain. This means when children exercise their brains receive a better blood supply and so a better supply of oxygen and vital nutrients. This allows their brains to work more efficiently, boosting overall brain function.


Regular exercise has been shown to stimulate the growth of new nerve cells in the brain. Nerve cells carry impulses between different parts of the brain, allowing them to connect with each other and share information. Creating new nerve cells is vital for learning and memory, so the more you can do to encourage your children’s brains to create new nerve cells, the better they will learn and remember what they’re learned!


One of the biggest challenges with many children is getting them to concentrate. Fortunately exercise can help here too, with research having found that children who exercise every day show significant improvements in their ability to concentrate and avoid distraction.


It has long be known that children who exercise are generally happier than those who don’t. Researchers in Finland have suggested that this may be because exercise helps children regulate the levels of hormones in their body associated with stress. When given a test involving maths and storytelling skills, children who had exercised produced lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who had done no exercise.


A good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to make sure your child performs well in school, but it’s often easier to suggest than achieve. However, a study from New Zealand showed that children who exercise daily fall asleep faster and sleep longer at night.

While physical activity has many benefits, it’s important to make sure your kids are safe while they’re out there running around. Smith Brothers’ playground safety tiles provide an attractive, customisable safety surface which is non-slip even when wet and has excellent shock absorbing properties. To find out more, call Smith Brothers today on 02392 387198 or fill out our contact form for a quick response. 

Posted on 20 May 2015 by Smith Brothers
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