12 minutes of exercise improves attention, reading comprehension in low-income adolescents

June 12, 2014

A new Dartmouth study Dartmouth study shows 12 minutes of exercise can improve attention and reading comprehension in low-income adolescents, suggesting that schools serving low-income populations should work brief bouts of exercise into their daily schedules.

The study, published as part of the June volume of Frontiers in Psychology, compared low-income adolescents with their high-income peers. While both groups saw improvement in selective visual attention up to 45 minutes after exercising, the low-income group experienced a bigger jump. (Selective visual attention is the ability to remain visually focused on something despite distractions.) The low-income students also improved on tests of reading comprehension following the physical activity, but the high-income students did not.

Study author Michele Tine , assistant professor of education and principal investigator in the Poverty and Learning Lab at Dartmouth, suspects the two groups respond to differently because they experience different levels of stress in life.

"Low-income individuals experience more stress than high-income individuals, and stress impacts the same physiological systems that acute aerobic exercise activates," Tine said. "Physiological measures were beyond the scope of this study, but low-income participants did report experiencing more . Alternatively, it is possible that low-income individuals improved more simply because they had more room to improve."

This study is a follow-up to one Tine published in 2012. The earlier study found that brief improved selective among children, with low-income participants experiencing the biggest improvement. Tine's latest study shows the effect holds true for adolescents (participants this time ranged from 17 to 21). It also explores, for the first time, exercise's effects on reading comprehension, an important research area because the gap between low- and high-income adolescents' is growing steadily.

Explore further: Does migraine affect income or income affect migraine?

Related Stories

Does migraine affect income or income affect migraine?

August 28, 2013

Studies show that migraine is more common among people with lower incomes. This relationship is examined in a study published in the August 28, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy ...

Recommended for you

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

August 31, 2015

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population ...

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.