The data is in, from numerous sources, and the findings are both enlightening and troublesome. The good news: kids who exercise do better in school. The bad news: fewer kids are exercising.
Further, the benefits of regular exercise for children go well beyond good grades, impacting behavior, potential lifetime earnings, and of course, lifespan. It’s also been proven that kids are more likely to participate in physical activity when their parents set the example – so stick with it all you Zumba moms!
Here you can see the declining rate of physical activity.
Yet, experts from all over the country continue to recite the benefits of regular exercise.
- “Exercise is Miracle-Gro for the brain” – John Raley, MD, Harvard Medical School
- “The more vigorous the physical activity, the greater the cognitive benefits” – Dr. Darla Castelli, University of Texas
- “They perform better on academic tests following single bouts of exercise” – Charles Hillman, Ph.D., University of Illinois
- “Exercise gives students an advantagae to learn” – Jean Blaydes Madigan, Action Based Learning
- Kids who are physically active are more likely to be academically motivated and alert in school” – National Association for Sport & Physical EducationPhisiologically, it takes but one look at a child’s brain after even moderate physical activity to see the incredible impact.
The ongoing erosion of physical education in our school’s classrooms has put even more importance on families stressing the importance of exercise, play, and fun for kids. In the classroom, the evidence is irrefutable.
According to the Center for Disease Control, “…physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.”
Whether it’s increased oxygen flow to the brain, increased brain neurotrasmitters, or increased brain-derived neurotrophins – the point is the young brain (and older ones too) is being stimulated and developed in the most positive way possible.
There’s even evidence that drop out rates are lower for youth who consistently participate in school-sponsored sports. Add to that the life long impact and there’s only one conclusion – stick to Zumba – and bring the kids! When you play it forward you do yourself and your family a wonderful service.