*Why is physical activity important in childhood?
In primary schools around the world, kids begin their day by exercising a mile around the school’s paremeter.1
With only 15 minutes per day of physical activity, children improve their overall cardiovascular fitness, achieve better focus and enhance their learning ability.
*Our bodies and brains were designed to move
Physical activity is essential for peak brain performance.
Our brains are built from the bottom up, with primitive structures maturing first.
For instance, the cerebellum, the brain structure at the base of the brain, is responsible for movement, coordination and spatial awareness. It is connected to structures of greater complexity, namely the cerebral cortex, where cognition and higher order brain functions take place.2
From a physiological standpoint, increase in heart rate and blood pressure during exercise releases feel good hormones (endorphins) and brain protecting proteins (BDNF-brain-derived neurotrophic factor). As blood moves rapidly throughout our body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to surrounding brain tissues we benefit from significant improvements in learning and memory.3
For theses reasons and many more, exercise is a key ingredient to living a long life with maximum brain health benefits, including academic success.
*What type of exercise is best for brain development?
It doesn’t matter, as long as you keep on moving!
Dr. Maria Montessori, the early childhood development expert, was a strong proponent of using gymnastics as the ultimate sport to support child development.4
Getting outside is another great way to integrate physical activity and nature, where the body and soul are integrated, along with a healthy dose of sunlight.
There are countless benefits to exercise, so choose your child’s favorite and see the results for yourself.
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Wishing you all the best on your journey!
- Lorna Hatch et al. Activity patterns of primary school children during participation in The Daily Mile. Scientific Reports, 2021; volume 11, article number: 7462 2021.
- Narender Ramnani. Review: The Primate Cortico-Cerebellar System: anatomy and function. Nat Rev Neurosci., 2006; 7(7): 511-22.
- Candice Hogan et al. Exercise Holds Immediate Benefits for Affect and Cognition in Younger and Older Adults. Psychol Aging, 2013; 28(2): 587-594.
- Maria Montessori. Chapter IX from the Montessori Method. Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1912.
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