Exercise before school improves concentration

Updated 05 December 2012

Exercise before school improves concentration

COPENHAGEN: Cycling or walking to school increases a child’s ability to concentrate in the classroom, the results of a Danish study published Friday showed.
Children who were driven to school, or who took public transport, performed less well in a test measuring concentration levels, than those who had walked or cycled, a joint study by researchers at the universities in Copenhagen and Aarhus found.
“The exercise one uses to transport oneself to school is reflected in the level of concentration one has circa four hours later,” said Niels Egelund, a co-author of the report.
The results surprised the researchers, as their hypothesis originally focused on the effects of eating breakfast and lunch on pupils’ ability to concentrate.
“The results showed that having breakfast and lunch has an impact, but not very much compared to having exercised,” Egelund told AFP.
“As a third-grade pupil, if you exercise and bike to school, your ability to concentrate increases to the equivalent of someone half a year further in their studies,” he added.
In the survey, taken by 19,527 pupils aged five to 19 years, participants were asked about their exercise habits and were then given a basic test measuring their concentration.
“Most people know the feeling of being refreshed after having exercised, but it is surprising that the effect lasts for so long,” Egelund said.

 


5 reasons to add spinach to your diet

Updated 08 August 2020

5 reasons to add spinach to your diet

DUBAI: Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach at Fit Squad DXB, shares her advice on the superfoods that will help you lead a longer and healthier life…

If you want a food that’s cheap, versatile and packed with nutrients, then you can’t go wrong with spinach. Throw a handful into a fruit or vegetable smoothie, cook it as a side dish with meat or knock out a saag curry as a main and reap the health rewards listed below.

Improved eye health

Spinach is high in the antioxidant pigments zeaxanthin and lutein, which protect your eyes from damage caused by sunlight. They also work to prevent macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. Studies have also shown that zeaxanthin and lutein play a part in preventing cataracts.

Healthy pregnancy

As spinach is packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium, it’s the perfect food for pregnant women. Leafy greens are also rich in powerful immune-boosting antioxidants and contain plant compounds that may help prevent constipation, a common problem among pregnant women.

There are plenty of health rewards to be reaped from the super food. Shutterstock

Blood clotting

One spinach leaf contains over half of your daily requirements of vitamin K1, which is essential for healthy bones. It also helps white blood cells to clot effectively, preventing you from bleeding out when you are injured. Anyone who is taking blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin should speak to their doctor before increasing their intake of spinach or other leafy greens.

Healthy teeth

This super green is high in catenoids, which our bodies turn into vitamin A. This vitamin plays a key role in keeping gums healthy and in building tooth enamel. Spinach is also high in calcium, which helps harden your enamel, strengthen your jawbone, and build strong bones. In fact, spinach is also rich in vitamin D, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C, all of which are important nutrients for bone health.

Healthy hair

This is where vitamin A comes in again, as it is necessary for sebum production to keep hair moisturized, helping it to look glossy and grow. It can also help reduce hair loss. Vitamin A is actually used in the growth of all bodily tissues, so it is essential for healthy skin as well.