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Why physical activity helps preteen brains stay fit

Why physical activity helps preteen brains stay fit

Regular physical activity isn't just good for a preteen's body. It's also good for their brain!

A new study from Boston Children's Hospital has found that any kind of physical activity—not just intense, structured exercise routines—help organize children's developing brains. Why the preteen years specifically? According to the lead researcher, Dr. Caterina Stamoulis, "The preteen years are associated with a lot of changes int he brain's functional circuits, particularly those supporter higher-level thought processes. Unhealthy changes in these areas can lead to risky behaviors and long-lasting deficits in the skills needed for learning and reasoning."

Ideally, preteens should be active multiple times per week for at least 60 minutes to have a widespread positive effect on brain circuitry. In this study, the preteens who engaged in high levels of activity saw benefits to brain circuits essential to learning and reasoning, including attention, memory, decision making, sensory and motor processing and the executive control (e.g., planning coordinating and controlling behaviors and actions).

For details on this research, read the summary from Children's Hospital here: