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  • Writer's pictureDavid Kirsch

Can Physical Fitness Help Improve Your Child’s Academic Performance?

Research by the CDC has shown that physical fitness strengthens your children’s bones, muscles, lungs, and heart. But did you know it can also improve their academic performance? Just a few weeks into the school year, and our kids are back to the grind. Being masked in person, boatloads of homework and all the pressure that goes with being a student today.

We promise to help you with practical ways to take some of the stress off! Emerging evidence shows that movement helps developing minds and bodies improve their physical and mental health. In fact, their overall well-being goes up with movement. Many famous research studies point to this.

But sadly, according to the American Heart Association, only 1 in 4 high school students get the recommended hour of daily physical activity. In addition to maintaining their physical health - body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and anxiety and depression, physical exercise (PE) can improve your children’s academic performance in the following ways:

Physical exercise affects your child’s brain. Physical exercise affects specific brain areas that regulate memory, thinking, learning, and reasoning. It increases the levels of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters). Besides, it helps your brain form new nerve connections.

Physical exercise helps improve academic outcomes. It helps your children’s brains make new neurons. It does so by increasing the levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF helps neurons grow, mature, and sustain.

According to the CDC, in the U.S. about 4.5 million children (ages 3 - 17) have a behavior problem, and 1.9 million have depression. Children who exercise more have fewer episodes of depression, stress, and psychological distress. Furthermore, they have a healthy self-image, life satisfaction, and emotional well-being.

The evidence is clear. Encouraging and supporting our children to move their bodies throughout the day, will yield a multitude of benefits. Here are just a few ways that we can support and encourage our kids to move their bodies:

Walking to school - if you’re able to, walking your child to school is a great way to connect and get your steps in too

Riding a scooter or bicycle to school

Participating in after - school sports - team sports are great for the body and also great for honing your interpersonal social skills.

Starting or ending the day with a little kids yoga. This is a great way to prime the mind and body for whatever the day presents, and also a great way to de-stress and unwind.

Set up weekly challenges at home - pushups, squats, plank, etc.

As we always say at Just For The Children, #movementismedicine. There are so many benefits to physical activity and so many different ways to get your body moving. Find something you like, and get your sweat on


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