Friday, July 19, 2013

How exercise can benefit your child in school

        
 
Have you seen the scores of television commercials that tout learning programs to help a child overcome a learning problem or mental block when it comes to grasping and mastering a feared subject such as Math or Science ? Well, the solution might be much easier- and cheaper - than you might suspect.  What is that? Exercise.

Intelligence may be related
to how much you exercise.
Benefits of Exercise on learning
 
If your child is having problems in school, it might be a good idea to evaluate his level of fitness and activity.  Researchers have repeatedly found that there are connections between fitness and brain health.   According to the article, "Physical Fitness in Childhood Linked to Higher Reading and Math Scores," a study conducted by the University of North Texas indicates that having a healthy heart and lungs may be one of the most important factors for middle school students to excel in reading and math.  And, what's more is that exercise can also impact on the learning and retention ability of seniors as well.
 
How does exercise benefit the brain?
 
Exercise helps the brain by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their connections (synapses) and protecting them from damage. Animal tests have shown that during exercise, never cells release proteins called neurotrophic factors. One protein in particular, BDNF, (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, triggers numerous other chemicals that enhance brain function.(" Physical Fitness in Childhood Linked to Higher Reading and Math Scores" Dr. Mercola)
 
 
What types of exercise improve brain power?
 
Also, according to the article, it's a good idea to incorporate a variety of exercises since each exercise offers its own unique benefits; both aerobic and resistance training are important for maintaining brain and cognitive health.  For example, aerobic exercise has been found to improve
the ability to coordinate multiple tasks.  It also helps to focus attention on a task for extended periods of time.  Resistance training seems to help in the ability to focus in on a tasks despite distractions.

Schedule your child's recreation

How do you get your child up and moving?  Well, the first thing is to set some limits on sedentary activities like computer games and watching tv.  A schedule is great. Some computer games and tv are fine, like one hour or whatever is appropriate for your child's age.  Then, encourage him to go outside for exercise.  Include neighborhood friends and other parents as well so as to make the idea work. (Everyone benefits from increased activity) Then include a schedule for snacks, homework and dinner. It's not easy, but obviously worth it.  Good health to you and your family!

Sources:

"Physical Fitness in Childhood Linked to Higher Reading and Math Scores" Dr. Mercola

 
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