AFIS - Active, Fit and Smart Project


The association between physical activity and learning has been evidenced in many studies. The results have suggested that being physically active produces positive effects on many cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, information processing and problem solving. Unfortunately, these previous studies have used fairly small datasets and have yielded fairly little information on the actual underlying mechanisms.

AFIS-project will look into the links between physical activity, fitness and the cognitive prerequisites of learning and into the mechanisms influencing these links. Tuija Tammelin, who is head of research consortium from LIKES, explains the project's premise: "We know that the infantile and adolescent brain is still developing and taking shape. Our aim is to explore how physical activity and fitness are linked to academic achievement, cognitive functions, brain properties and executive functions at different ages, both in children and adults."

Multidisciplinary research consortium is combination of researcher from fields of neurobiology, neurosciences and sport sciences from epidemiology point of view The project consist of three subproject, each and every with a specific approach.

The first subproject investigates how changes in physical activity and fitness affect cognitive function, academic achievement and educational attainment at different stages of a person’s life. The second subproject is focusing the associations of lifelong physical activity or inactivity with the structural and functional properties of the brain.

The third subproject uses animal models to study how both intrinsic and acquired fitness affect learning ability and what are the underlying mechanisms behind the phenomenon.

The AFIS-project is funded by Academy of Finland, program “The Future of Learning, Knowledge and Skills”. The funding covers years 2014-2017.

The operating actors in the AFIS project are LIKES and University of Jyväskylä; Department of Psychology and Department of Biology and Physical Activity.

For more information, please contact to the Research Director Tuija Tammelin from LIKES -- Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences,