3 Factors that Make Physical Activity So Essential for Children

Most children love to play – even the ones that love their video games! Unfortunately for them, we are slowly moving towards a time when physical activities and playtime are shrinking beyond anything that’s long enough to be enjoyable or effective for them. Speaking of effectiveness, let’s discuss three ways in which physical activity and games are crucial to growing children.

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The Golden 60 Minutes

Young children and even teenagers can reduce their chances of gaining too much weight by being physically active for just an hour a day. It doesn’t have to be a continuous burst of intense exercise in the gym for one hour, but just sixty minutes of any one or multiple physical activity/activities in total throughout the day. Given that the CDC presented data that showed every one in five American children to be dangerously overweight, the golden rule of 60 minutes needs to be followed more widely.

Physical Activity has been Directly Linked to Better Learning

There is a direct connection between physical activity and learning, as it was found that school children who were involved in track & field or any other sport, even as a side-activity, fared better in academic test scores. The subjects that seemed to have benefitted the most from physical activity were mathematics, reading and comprehension.

In general, it was found that aerobics or cardiovascular exercise in children leads to growth in brain matter, along with the formation of new neural connections at a much faster rate than in children who don’t participate in aerobic exercises as much. Aerobics includes anything from running and jogging, to playing a sport that taxes the child’s agility and stamina.

Lack of Physical Activity Can Stunt Physical and Cognitive Growth

Contrary to what some parents may believe, cognitive growth and physical growth are simultaneous and interdependent in many ways. In children who are still at their growing age, the impact of insufficient physical activity could be hugely detrimental for their cognitive development. Even if such an under-active child excels in school work, a rounded development of the bran is unlikely to occur.

It should be noted that this connection between cognitive development and physical activity is one that lasts a lifetime in human beings, but during the early years of rapid growth, missing out on the necessary physical activity will result in inadequate brain development. For example, physical exercises in the form of children’s games or any sport, can help children develop sensory skills. They learn to coordinate their neuromuscular reactions to senses of sight, sound and touch in ways that they wouldn’t learn to do otherwise as children, but would find to be highly essential skills as adults.

Lastly, we must acknowledge the fact that depression, suicidal thoughts and a low self-esteem in children, are often the results of being overweight or obese. Physical activity in children can not only prevent excess weight gain in the first place, but the exertion can lower such grim thoughts and feelings even if they are already present through the regular release of endorphins.

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