Here’s another research-backed link between exercise and brain development to share with parents who don’t yet prioritize their children’s playtime: Kids who are active reap benefits both during childhood and in later life.

A new study by Kobe University researchers in Japan shows that physical activity in early life positively affects brain network development. Many studies have found an association between kids’ fitness and cognitive benefits by linking exercise and brain development; however, this research is the first to show that structural and functional changes in the brain resulting from childhood exercise are the reason people who were active as juveniles have stronger brain network connections as adults.

This improved neural connectivity helps adults avoid impulsive reactions; enhances executive function; and results in a better ability to control attention, behavior, thoughts and emotions.

The study was published in NeuroImage (2021; 237 [118196]).

See also: Long-Term Benefits From Organized Youth Sports