Cycling makes girls smarter

Active Commuting to School and Cognitive Performance in Adolescents

Its official – cycling really does make you smarter, at least for girls anyway!  A study in Spain has found a correlation between walking or cycling to school and improved test scores amongst teenage girls, regardless of how much other exercise was undertaken.

The relationship between exercise and mental performance also seems to be linear.  The authors found that those who had an active commute of over 15mins performed better than those who had an active commute of under 15mins, who in turned performed better than those who had no active commute.

There was no conclusion as to whether or not it was the active commute or exercise in general that led to improved performance but everyone reading this blog knows just how good you feel after a morning ride.  Despite doctors recommending at least an hour of vigorous exercise daily for teens, less than half of US and Australian children manage to achieve this activity level.  One of main the reasons that 25% of Aussie kids are obese or overweight.  More kids riding to school would do a lot to reduce this.

David Martínez-Gómez, Jonatan R. Ruiz, Sonia Gómez-Martínez, Palma Chillón, J. Pablo Rey-López, Ligia E. Díaz, Ruth Castillo, Oscar L. Veiga, ‘Active Commuting to School and Cognitive Performance in Adolescents: The AVENA Study‘, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, Dec 2010; doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.244

4 Comments

  • Edward Re says:

    I like it! I wish all parents could be forced to read this, and recognise the damage done to children by keeping them immobile in a steel cage!

  • Gen says:

    This is true, but still, I would rather have my child go in a helmet, There is a difference between having a brain and having a broken one.

  • Emma says:

    The headline of ‘cycling makes girls smarter’ is a claim of causation, but then the article states that they are just correlated. Don’t mix up correlation and causation! Then lower down it says ‘There was no conclusion as to whether or not it was the active commute or exercise in general that led to improved performance but everyone reading this blog knows just how good you feel after a morning ride.’ So the author is admitting that it’s a correlation, not a causation, but then uses the anecdotal assumption ‘everyone reading this blog knows’ that it’s actually a causal relationship. I love most of the info on this site but please make sure that we don’t take the results of a study any further than they actually should go. If you want to make a causal claim about cycling and test scores, find a causal study to back it up.

    • Editor says:

      If you read our blog post, we don’t make any such claim. The authors of the publication may make stronger conclusions than are warranted, but we don’t.

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