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The Brain Boosting Benefits of Physical Activity for Kids

BrainBoost!

A recent review of 26 previously published studies involving more than 10,000 children, between the ages of four and 13 years old, demonstrates that incorporating physical activity into a child’s daily routine can help improve the child’s performance in math and reading. Researchers believe that this benefit has a neurobiological, or the biology of the nervous system, explanation as exercise increases blood flow to the brain. In addition, the social component shows that there are benefits to children’s overall mental health.

Research Findings

The research highlights the fact that regular physical activity benefits not only the body, but the brain, too. Children have a natural inclination to be active, and by providing children with opportunities for active, physical play, a child’s behavior and performance in school, and at home, will naturally improve.

The study revealed the strongest correlation between physical activities that are integrated into the school day and improved academic performance. For many school systems, however, an emphasis on increasing the number of academic hours makes finding time in the school day for physical activity difficult. In those situations, after school programs like sports or kid-focused programs like those offered by The Little Gym can provide a necessary outlet for children’s energy. Not only that, but it provides the physical and social benefits that help bolster academic performance.

Adding Physical Fitness to Your Child’s Routine

With winter’s shorter days still lingering on, it can be a challenge to schedule regular outdoor activities for school-aged children. For many working parents, it’s tempting to allow children to fall into sedentary pursuits like watching TV or playing video games. But the need for regular physical activity isn't seasonal; it's important to make physical activity for kids a priority year round. Instilling healthy exercise habits at an early age can help reduce the risk of serious illnesses and contribute to the development of a healthy body image. Regular exercise also helps children perform better in class and can be critical to their future emotional wellbeing in their personal and professional lives.

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