We’ve all grasped the crucial importance of exercise for kids, particularly in the face of the immense obesity issues in today’s societies but what we may not be aware of is that physical activity actually also enhances academic performance. When kids do sports, their brains benefit and their learning abilities improve.
According to medical experts, physical activity has an abundance of benefits for a child’s brain development and learning, including:
- Increased Blood Flow to the Brain – Better Brain Activity and Memory: According to research carried out at Columbia University, when children exercise, more blood flows to the brain and thus enhances the child’s alertness and concentration. As a consequence, children who engage in physical activity learn better.
- Exercise Builds New Brain Cells Responsible for Short-Term Memory and Creativity: During exercise, new brain cells grow and growth factors receive stimulation. Particularly cells associated with short-term memory and creativity receive a boost. With regular exercise, kids also exhibit faster reaction times and a more active imagination.
- Exercise Enhances the Capacity to Learn and Gather Knowledge: According to Dr John Ratley, psychiatrist at the Harvard School of Medicine, during exercise, the brain’s neurotrophic levels rise, causing brain cells to branch out and communicate better with each other. As a result, a child’s ability to absorb new information improves.
- Exercise Shapes the Brain: The same research indicated that sporting activity shapes the brain and enlarges the areas responsible for maintaining concentration levels and the ability to grasp complex issues.
- Exercise Improves Ability to Learn: According to German experts, children absorbed new language vocabulary 20% better subsequent to exercise.
- Jumping and Balancing Improve Spatial Awareness: After skipping rope or balancing exercises, children have been shown to display more creativity, spatial awareness, and better intellectual flexibility.
- Exercise Reduces Brain-Damaging Stress Levels: Research has indicated that stress damages a child’s brain. As exercise is a well-known stress buster, these negative effects are practically eliminated. Physical activity balances brain chemicals, much like a variety of antidepressants.
- Excel at Sport, Excel at School: Kids who perform well at sports also tend to do well when it comes to academic endeavors.
- Team Sports Build Confidence: No less than 81% of female top executives played team sports, and experts believe that organized sporting activity helps kids to learn about leadership, fairness while also helping them to grow in confidence.
- Aerobics for Brain Stimulation: Aerobic exercises have been shown to produce valuable brain proteins and provide valuable stimulation.
- Sports for Confidence and Self-Esteem: Psychologists believe that children grow in confidence if they exercise regularly. Mastering new sporting skills also gives kids a sense of achievement and thus raises self-esteem levels.
Exercise for Body, Mind, and Spirit
All of the above combine to indicate that exercise has benefits far beyond the well-known health perks. Lots of research points to the advantages of sporting activity for the brain, particularly in children.
Sadly, with the rise and availability of technology devices, kids have been becoming increasingly sedentary. Perhaps it’s time to encourage kids to engage in sporting activities or at least to get them to go outside and run around like kids used to do in the olden days.
Schools also need to value and incorporate more sporting activities and view them as part of the learning cycle rather than just a necessary counterbalance.
Kids have boundless energy and are hardly suited to an entirely sedentary lifestyle. As parents and educators, we need to give exercise a more central role, fully aware that by doing so we not only help kids to have healthier bodies but also sharper minds.
Perhaps each school day should start with a game of tag!