After analyzing 14 studies, researchers have determined that schoolchildren can boost their academic performance simply by partaking in physical activity. It is well known that exercising is key for maintaining quality health, but now parents may encourage children from a young age to involve themselves with some form of physical activity to boost brain power. By teaching children from a young age that movement is important, we will be setting the groundwork for a future full of physical activity.
Physical Activity Boosts Brain Function
The 14 studies examined by the authors ranged in size from as few as 50 participants to as many as 12,000 participants, with all participants being between the ages of 6 and 18. The results showed that physical activity and academic performance are actually very much interlinked. Many people utilize some simple exercises like walking to soak in waves of clarity and focus, but it was previously unknown that cognition and brain function would improve as well.
… The increasing pressures to improve academic scores often lead to additional instructional time for subjects such as mathematics and language at the cost of time for being physically active. Given the suggested relationship and the ongoing discussions on the replacement of physical education lessons by academic subjects, we aimed to review the evidence on the longitudinal relationship between these two variables…
When you engage in exercise the brain is encouraged to operate at very strong levels. It does this by causing an increase in nerve cell multiplication, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage. The study author explains why exercise is a powerful tool in strengthening cognition, including:
Increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain
Increased levels of norepinephrine and endorphins resulting in a reduction of stress and an improvement of mood
Increased growth factors that help to create new nerve cells and support synaptic plasticity
Generally it shouldn’t be too difficult to get young children to start engaging in physical activity, so as long as the right teachings are instilled at an early age. Outside activities have become less popular with the influx of technology and video games, but it only takes a small increase in outside activity to spark a much larger, ongoing increase in outside activity. As for older individuals, a lack of time may seem like ultimate barrier. Although this issue can usually be overcome easily when positive focus is put toward it, there are methods to engage in physical activity without investing a lot of time.