Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning platforms have quickly become how many children will learn this Fall. As a result, our kids will experience a sharp jump in their screen time. Screen time refers to how many hours per day your child spends in front of a screen, whether watching TV, playing video games, or using electronic devices. Now, more than ever, we need to help to counteract this rise in sedentary time with some good old fashioned exercise and playtime!
Exercise and frequent activity can prepare our children to be better learners. John J. Ratey, MD, writes in his book titled, “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” that exercise improves learning on multiple levels: “First, it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention, and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information.” Exercise helps the brain get ready to learn and can make it easier to retain information.
Here are a few more benefits to keeping our kids active:
- Frequent physical activity is associated with improved behavior in the classroom.
- Greater rates of activity are associated with higher test scores in reading and math.
- Children who are active 60 minutes per day demonstrate lower rates of obesity.
- Active children are more likely to be active adults.
- Play-based activities that require a high degree of sensory input (sight, sound, touch, etc.) help develop a broad array of skills that can make physical activity more enjoyable later in life.
- Physical (body) and cognitive (brain) development go hand-in-hand. This relationship is most critical at a young age. When kids are active, their brain develops, which allows for new types of activity.
- Frequent activities requiring a high degree of balance and coordination are associated with an improved emotional response.
- Frequent exercise decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety in children.
- Regular exercise with children promotes self-efficacy concerning health and self-image.
Exercise and frequent activity are critical in helping our children grow into happy, healthy, active adults.