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Cycling boosts kids’ brain power, research finds

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A study in the European Journal of Sports Science suggests that moderate exercise can improve a child’s reading and spelling ability.

Researchers from Coventry University and Bournemouth University looked at the effect of exercise on 9 girls and 9 boys, their average age just less than 10 years old.

The children were tested using the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT 4), which measures the ability to read, understand sentences, spell, and solve arithmetic problems. The test was applied – on separate days – after 20 minutes of rest, 20 minutes on a cycling ergometer at 50% of maximal heart rate reserve (HRR), and 20 minutes on the ergometer at 75% HRR.

The researchers found that reading and spelling improved after periods of moderate exercise, but didn’t improve more at higher intensity. Exercise wasn’t found to improve sentence comprehension and it was found to impair arithmetic ability.

The lesson here then seems to be that if you want your little ’un to be a great writer or journalist, get them on a bike. If you want your offspring to become an accountant or a quant, though, and actually earn enough to keep you in your old age, better stick with chess and XBox.