We are familiar with the common benefits of exercise. Some of these include weight management as well as having more energy and flexibility. Recently, studies have even shown that regular exercise can help minimize the chances of contracting COVID-19.
One of the important benefits of exercise that may not be as emphasized but is still vital is how beneficial it can be for our brain activity. According to a study by De Giorgio, et al (2018)1, the brain reaps benefits greatly from movement, which can be both structural and functional.
For our growing toddlers and adolescents, exercise is crucial especially as they develop. Since it also helps their neuro and brain performance, encouraging physical movement among our children is a must. Below are more reasons why exercise is necessary for children’s optimal growth and development:
- Physical activity contributes positively to the development and prepares children for the mental activities of adolescence and adulthood, which require stamina.
De Giorgio et al have also said that exercise helps in children’s mental health and brain function and cognition. The ability of the child to be attentive also increases with exercise.
Decision-making is also another brain function that is improved by exercise. This is a vital skill in sports because athletes need to do quick decision-making to win over their opponents.
- Environmental enrichment and motor experiences, along with physical activity help the brain function.
With all these elements working together, De Giorgio et al have said that it promotes myelination or the increase in the fatty sheath surrounding neuronal processes and fibers that increases the efficiency of electrical transmission. The brain signal then becomes faster, and the brain can use reduced energy to perform that gesture. This leads to better motor and cognitive processes in children.
- Creative and academic performance are also affected positively by exercise.
De Giorgio et al also stated that motor activity has positive effects on creative performance as well as executive and math functions of kids.
And so a possible reason why achievers in the classroom are able to excel is that they have sufficient physical activity and lead active lifestyles.
Want to increase your children’s physical activity for their neuro and brain health? LifeScience Center offers a Neuro-fit program for kids! It’s a system-based approach to improving the health, connectivity, and performance of the nerve system. It is the first of its kind in the country and is the only service that uses movement to facilitate a holistic change to address cognitive, emotional, and motor concerns all in one program. It can help kids with autism, ADHD, and sensory integration issues.
1 De Giorgio, A., Kuvačić, G., Milić, M., & Padulo, J. (2018). The brain and movement: How physical activity affects the brain. Montenegrin Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 7(2), 63-68. doi: 10.26773/mjssm.180910