It is the ActiveBrains study, which is led by University of Granada, analyzes the results of a five-month fitness program that combines resistance and aerobic exercises which is completed 3 times per week, for children who suffer from excess weight or obesity. Researchers/as have found that students who engaged in exercises, in comparison to the control group, increased their cognitive abilities in a significant manner, as well as their cognitive flexibility as well as academic performance.


Are there ways to increase the intelligence of humans? There has been a long-held assumption that intelligent people are typically stable, which is, one is born intelligent and remains capable of being intelligent throughout their lives and/or contrary. In recent years, this perception has been changing and people are beginning to realize that intelligence is more variable than was previously believed. There are numerous benefits to regular physical activity on cognitive, mental, and physical health for people of all age, however to date there has been no conclusive proof that regular exercise improves the intelligence of people.

The study is conducted by scientists from in the Department of Physical Education and Sports of the University of Granada, in collaboration with Psychology researchers from the same school as well as international and national external collaborators. The study has shown that children who engage in exercises are smarter and have better academic performance.

This study, which the famous journal JAMA Network Open is publishing this week, has shown that during a period of growth , cognitive and brain development in childhood exercising regularly for a period of about a year enhances total intelligence, particularly, crystallized intelligence that is the type of intellect that comes from knowledge and vocabulary that is acquired over time within the school environment and beyond.

Furthermore to that, the program increased cognition flexibility. This refers to an individual’s ability to adjust to new routines or requirements, or to maintain several concepts at a time and switch focus between various tasks or rules. It is important to know that the exercise routine also enhanced overall academic performance with problem solving and mathematics being the most improved capabilities.

“From these results we have a crucial take-home message to fathers and mothers parents: if your children aren’t doing effectively in school, don’t penalize them by not going out or working out or removing them from any after-school sport Instead, you should do the opposite”, Francisco Ortega says Prof. of the University of Granada and principal researcher for the study.


60 minutes per day of physical activity

“We should make sure that we get the minimum amount of physical activity, with ideally 60 minutes per day of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, with at least three days a week of intense physical exercise and activities that help bone and muscle strengthening according to the World Health Organization (WHO)” The UGR Professor, who was involved in the creation of these recommendations for physical activity from the WHO in 2020.

It is crucial to realize that obesity and overweight is a significant health issue both in the developed and developing world. This is particularly true in Spain as one of the top countries when it comes to obese and overweight prevalence in Europe with 1 out of 3 children suffering from this condition. Obesity is detrimental to general health, and, in recent times it has been found to have effects on the brain and cognitive level.

“The research has significant implications for those who are that is at greater risk”, Jose Mora says an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Education and Sports of the University of Granada, since “This study demonstrates that physical activity is an effective way to reduce the adverse consequences of obesity on the academic and cognitive levels”.

In the end, research team from UGR say that the kind of exercise they conducted in this study can be transferred in the school setting. The program of exercise was based around group games that did not have the latest equipment, that included running on a court outside and strength exercises using their own weight or partner’s body weight. All of this was completed at a high level of intensity and the average intensity for the whole session being about 70 percent from the highest heart rate of the kids who performed an average of 3 sessions per week, each lasting 90 minutes each. This will result in 4.5 hours of daily exercise.

“If we could boost the hours of physical education, up to one hour every day, which is being done across other European countries and required in Spain and elsewhere, we could enhance the mental and physical health of children , and as this study shows as well, the intelligence of their cognitive and academic performance” says Francisco Ortega.

The results of this research are being presented by the professor from UGR. UGR in the European Congress of Sports Science which is the largest Congress of Sport Sciences in Europe and takes place in Sevilla.