Even mild physical activity immediately improves memory function, UCI-led study finds

Originally published Sept. 24, 2018 by Eureka Alert and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

People who include a little yoga or tai chi in their day may be more likely to remember where they put their keys. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Japan’s University of Tsukuba found that even very light workouts can increase the connectivity between parts of the brain responsible for memory formation and storage.

In a study of 36 healthy young adults, the researchers discovered that a single 10-minute period of mild exertion can yield considerable cognitive benefits. Using high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging, the team examined subjects’ brains shortly after exercise sessions and saw better connectivity between the hippocampal dentate gyrus and cortical areas linked to detailed memory processing. Read More

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Children across state have low levels of physical activity, finds UCLA study

Originally published Oct. 8, 2018 in the UCLA Daily Bruin.

By Celia Janes

UCLA researchers found two-thirds of children and four-fifths of teenagers in California fail to exercise for the recommended amount of one hour per day.

The study examined what environmental factors might discourage children from exercising. Susan H. Babey, a senior research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research who authored the study, said that children are more likely to exercise if they live near a safe area to play, such as a park or quiet street. Likewise, they are less likely to exercise if they live in an unsafe neighborhood or near a busy street, where parents might have more safety concerns about letting their children play unsupervised. Read More

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New U.S. Report Card Reveals Near-Failing Grade for Physical Activity in Children, Youth

Originally published Oct. 2, 2018 in the American College of Sports Medicine.

The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) today released its 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. This is the third comprehensive assessment of physical activity in U.S. children and youth, updating the first report card released in 2014 and the second released in 2016. While the overall physical activity grade for children and youth remained low at D-, the 2018 report card revealed positive signs, especially related to opportunities and infrastructure that supports physical activity in children and youth. The Report Card includes grades for nine specific indicators, individual state data, and recommendations for how grades can be improved.

The report card is an advocacy tool that provides accountability and a call-to-action for decision-makers regarding how parents, teachers, health professionals, community leaders, and policymakers can implement new initiatives, programs and policies to improve the physical activity levels and health of children and youth. Read More

Austin elementary named one of nation’s healthiest schools

healthiest schools
Sumner Elementary School was named one of the nation’s healthiest schools Monday by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Originally published Sept. 20, 2018 in the Post-Bulletin.

By Katie Lauer

Sumner Elementary School was named one of the nation’s healthiest schools Monday by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Earning a silver award, Sumner made the list as one of only two Minnesota schools. The second was a Minneapolis community school at the bronze level. Read More

Morning Mile

The Morning Mile Gets Kids Running Before School—and Loving It

Originally published Sept. 13, 2018 in Runners World.

Since 2010, the run/walk program has spread to hundreds of schools in nearly two dozen states.

By Jacob Meschke

Ashley Hamilton of Gainesville, Florida is only in sixth grade, but she already has a national championship to her name. In July, Hamilton won the girls 11-year-old 3,000 meters at the AAU Club National Championships in Orlando, and placed in two other events.

Now a serious runner with the Gainesville Striders track club, Hamilton got her start in running through the Morning Mile program at her elementary school. Read More