Encouraging your teenager to walk to school can help them do better in class - especially if they're female.
A study has suggested that a pupil's cognitive performance may be improved if they walk to school rather than be driven in, and girls are more likely to benefit from this than boys.
The new research, published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found performance at school among teenage girls who take a walk to the classroom is better than those who travel by bus or car.
Females who took 15 minutes or longer to walk in outperformed those who live in closer proximity.
The researchers wrote, "Inactive adolescents could be missing out on a very important stimulus to improve their learning and cognitive performance."
Dr. Frank Eves, a Chartered Psychologist, commented that "The study suggests not only that active travel may be related to cognitive performance in girls but also that greater effects may occur for durations of 15 minutes of more."
But Dr. Eves pointed out that while the improvement seemed to correlate directly with the increased activity pre-school, circumstances surrounding the lifestyles and upbringing of those girls that walked to school could also have a bearing on how well the girls performed.
Regarding the study's finding that that there was no beneficial effect for teen boys, Dr. Eves said, "Although the authors seem to argue that girls show greater declines in physical activity during adolescence than boys, and hence are more likely to benefit, there would still be numerous boys who also could benefit."
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