How does exercise help children excel in school?

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It’s well established that physical activity benefits both the body and the mind, so it should come as no surprise that exercise can also help children succeed in the classroom.

Why does exercise help kids excel in school? And how does physical activity affect brain function? Read on to get the answers to these questions and more.

The relationship between exercise and academic achievement

Current evidence indicates that increasing physical activity - whether it’s structured exercise or free play during recess or after school - can improve a child’s academic performance.

This is mostly due to the way physical activity enhances cognitive functions related to attention and memory. Simply put, kids who are active are better able to focus on their schoolwork than their sedentary peers.

The results can be seen in their grades, behavior and ability to concentrate in class. Research shows that students who take part in exercise programmes tend to perform better in mathematics, reading and languages than students who do not.

Why does this happen? According to Ivan Cavero Redondo, co-author of a study which investigated the impact of physical activity programmes on academic performance, it largely comes down to the way exercise improves blood flow to the brain.

"Exercise influences the brain by increasing cerebral blood flow, which increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients and promotes blood capillaries formation, increases the neuronal connectivity through the promotion of the synaptogenesis and the availability of neurotransmitters,” explains Redondo.

Physical activity also has a strong social component, which plays an important role in a person’s mental health and overall wellbeing. Research shows children who are physically active are less likely to develop depression and other mental health conditions, which can be incredibly detrimental to academic achievement and life in general.

Helping kids get active

Despite the many benefits of engaging in regular physical activity, it’s clear that many children still don’t get enough exercise. According to figures published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science, just 33.2 percent of Chinese children and adolescents aged 6-19 participate in physical activity seven times per week - well below the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 60 minutes of daily exercise for children aged 5-17.

We want to do our part to change this. The World Trainer Youth Academy has been carefully designed to help children unlock their potential through the power of exercise. Join us for our Summer Camp from now till August 10. There’s still a few spots left. Sign up for the next 6 classes today.

patty lee