Kids and Steps and Sweat equals healthier brains
Research shows that the more physically active kids are the better they will do in school, according to the new Par ti ci pact I ON Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.
In light of this research, participaction has issued an expert statement on physical activity and brain health in children and youth.
Here is the expert statement:
“For better brain health, all children and youth should be physically active on a regular basis. In addition to physical health benefits, physical activity also improves cognition, brain function and mental health.”
You can read the full report here: www.participACTION.com/reportcard
Many of the brain processes that make for better, more efficient learners—such as focus, memory, and recall—are enhanced after getting physical active. Thus, adding more physical activity to kids’ routines could be the missing part of the equation to make them better students, athletes, and friends.
Read the full report to understand the science behind how physical activity can help the brain in cognition, brain function and structure & mental health. The report says that getting active is a good idea because:
• Getting moving is more effective than cramming for a test;
• Busy bodies results in bigger brains;
• The more active the body the more innovative the ideas;
• Being active helps students to focus better;
• Breaking a sweat releases feel good hormones, so kids who move feel great;
• More movement results in less anxiety;
• More physical activity equals less stress;
• Getting active results in increased self esteem;
In light of this evidence, parents and families can:
• Encourage children and youth to meet the daily physical activity guidelines for their age, and support them in their efforts.
• Promote age-appropriate outdoor play as a way of improving decision making, problem-solving and selfconfidence;
• Become aware of sport and physical activities that are appropriate for the skill level and abilities of children and youth;
• Learn about funding opportunities for participation in sports and recreation activities by children and youth;
• Explain the child’s strengths and needs to local physical activity and recreation providers so the instructors have the knowledge required to ensure an inclusive environment/experience. ;
• Be active as a family. This encourages physical activity, togetherness, social support and connectedness, which are all important for good mental health.
• Seek out quality programming with trained instructors that support physical literacy.
The 2018 participaction Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada.
The Report Card synthesizes data from multiple sources, including the best available peer-reviewed research, to assign evidence-informed grades across 14 indicators.
The 2018 Expert Statement on Physical Activity and Brain Health in Children and Youth is based on the findings of a team of experts in pediatric neuroscience and exercise science.
This Statement was written after multiple reviews, discussions and consultations with stakeholders. The findings are applicable to all Canadian kids, regardless of gender, cultural background or socio-economic status, including those with disabilities.
Desirea Agar is a health promotion coordinator at Medicine Hat Community Health Services and can be reached at de[email protected]