Increasing sedentarism among American children is a matter of great concern. A lack of physical activity will have a negative impact on our children in the same way it affects an adult. Even the most advanced tech gadgets can’t bring you the benefits of physical activity. You may think those expert apps on your iPad or smartphone are enough to make them smart in academics. To develop and improve your child’s cognitive function, the best way is to rely on exercise. Now, it is a scientifically proven fact that fitness level is very well reflected in your kid’s grades. Wondering how? Here you go.
What Science Says….
Recently various studies have come up, which force schools here to reexamine their policy of limiting physical education classes. A study from the University of North Texas suggests that a healthy heart and lungs may have something to do with good grades in maths and reading for middle school students.1 They found that cardiorespiratory fitness has an impact on both boys’ and girls’ grades on reading and math tests. The research was based on 1211 students from five Texas school. Besides physical fitness, the study also considered several other potential influences, including self-esteem and social support.
Meanwhile, another study conducted by the University of Illinois found that children who are more fit tend to have a bigger hippocampus, a major component of the human brain and perform better on a test of memory than their less-fit peers.2 Hippocampus has an important role to play in learning and memory. Thus, the physically fit children also excelled in tests of relational memory. They reached the conclusion, analyzing the MRI data of kids who are fit and kids who aren’t fit.
A study of 2038 children aged 6-18 years conducted by researchers from the University of Madrid also reported that cardiorespiratory capacity and motor ability, both independently and combined, may have a beneficial influence on academic performance in youth.3 The physical fitness, body composition, and academic performance were taken into consideration for the research. The findings highlighted that low cardiorespiratory capacity and motor ability will have an adverse effect on their academic performance.
Have you ever thought regular exercise could reduce the symptoms of ADHD? A scientific study says so. Researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Vermont found that offering daily before-school, aerobic activities to younger at-risk children could help in reducing impairment associated with ADHD-risk in both home and school domains.4
Now, How To Get Them Moving
Limiting their screen time is the first step you have to make. Cut down the time they spend with TV, iPad/tablet, smartphones, and of course video games.
Engage them in any physical activity after school and on the weekends. Let them choose an activity, which is of their taste. Going for your choice will definitely not help. Bike riding, gymnastics, or dance classes – you will never run out of options. When you make exercise fun for them, it becomes more enjoyable.
Well, don’t preach all these to your kids when you stay at home as a lazy parent. Be a role model to your kids. If exercise becomes part of your life, your kids will naturally follow you. You can even plan group activities such as hiking and canoeing during weekends. Bringing in the fun element will make it more interesting for your kids.
|↑1||Students with Strong Hearts and Lungs May Make Better Grades, Study Finds. American Psychological Association.|
|↑2||Children’s brain development is linked to physical fitness. University of Illinois.|
|↑3||Esteban-Cornejo, Irene, Carlos Ma Tejero-González, David Martinez-Gomez, Juan Del-Campo, Ana González-Galo, Carmen Padilla-Moledo, James F. Sallis, Oscar L. Veiga, and UP & DOWN study group. “Independent and combined influence of the components of physical fitness on academic performance in youth.” The journal of pediatrics 165, no. 2 (2014): 306-312.|
|↑4||Hoza, Betsy, Alan L. Smith, Erin K. Shoulberg, Kate S. Linnea, Travis E. Dorsch, Jordan A. Blazo, Caitlin M. Alerding, and George P. McCabe. “A randomized trial examining the effects of aerobic physical activity on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in young children.” Journal of abnormal child psychology 43, no. 4 (2015): 655.|