The Cognitive Benefits of Physical Activities for Children
Devitt is 7 years old, who repeatedly gets a lot of complaints sent from school. He is usually distracted and has minimal attention span when it comes to school assignments. His poor scores in exams were a constant concern for his parents. After a discussion with his parent, his teacher figured out that one reason for his poor performance was lack of physical activity in his daily routine. Like Devitt’s parent, most of us fail to understand that not being active bears a serious impact on the cognitive development of our children.
Cognitive development refers to an ability to source information, comprehend it, organise it and articulate it well. Cognitive skills contribute to a child’s language, vocabulary and numeracy development. It plays an eminent role in defining the academic performance of a child. This ability to think or reason can be greatly reformed through physical activity, as it can boost verbal memory, psychomotor speed and executive functioning of the brain. But sadly, a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation suggests that globally around 81% of school going children are not active enough to boost their cognitive development.
These statistics underscore a need to create awareness among children, parents, caregivers and educators on the importance of physical fitness. Through health education we can achieve the following objectives:
- Inculcate a positive attitude towards health necessary to have a healthy physique and mind.
- To develop healthy habits
- Motivates them to improve and maintain overall health
- To develop a healthy environment for physical and mental growth
Exercise stimulates the brain and improves cognitive performance of the brain. Being active helps children to stay physically fit and mentally alert. There is an endless list of physical activities that kids can choose from to stay active:
Running, swimming, biking or jumping: Improves the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain and improves the performance of various transmitter involved in cognitive functions of the brain. They also produce endorphins which in turn improves reduces stress and anxiety and help them cope up with their academic related problems better.
Aerobic exercises: Aerobic activities triggers anti-stress hormones and also improves the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This helps in improving the cognitive functioning of our brain as a child with higher aerobic fitness is able to perform a task with greater accuracy and lesser reaction time.
Medication and Yoga: Through yoga and meditation children can target factors like stress, anxiety, low attention span and lack of focus. It helps to calm the body and mind and improves concentration which in turn enhances academic performance.
Exercise can make our kids smarter and fitter. Let’s consider the innumerable benefits that children get from being active and pledge to make it a part of their daily life. Carengrow’s preventive health care app emulates the same and recommends including at least an hour of play time in our children’s routine to ensure healthier and brighter future for them.