If you needed another reason for kids to exercise, here it is. In an ongoing study with middle school children in the St. Louis area, kids are beginning the day with PE, and not your usual PE. They are required to spend at least 20 continuous minutes during their first period PE either swimming, cycling, and/or running/walking. The kids wear heart rate (HR) monitors so that they can keep their HR’s within their training range (65-95% of their maximum). The researchers looked at changes in several parameters: body fat, fitness level, academic achievement, and mood. The results produced positive scores in all the above, but what took the researchers by surprise was the improvement in disciplinary behavior. In-school suspensions (from aggression, bullying, mischievous behavior) dropped by an amazing 60%. The bottom line: since the prefrontal cortex in the brain of teens is not fully developed (which is why they don’t always make the best choices), these particular exercises provided such an increase of oxygen and glucose, that the kids were actually able to “think before they acted.” What an amazing thing…………………. We should all do that. As usual, exercise trumps everything. If you are exercising, put another notch in your belt; if not, it’s another good reason to start.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.