31 Ways Physical Activity Can Boost Your Child’s Grades

Introduction 

A great child is a happy, healthy, socially-responsible and self-confident young person. You can help your child become that kind of person by focusing on the importance of physical activity for their overall health. The benefits are numerous — and many ways to get active with kids have been studied and proved over time. With the right encouragement from parents, children will join in with sports, dance classes and other programs.

In this article, I’ll tell you a bit more about how physical activity in childhood affects long term health and learning later on.

Why? Because it’s important! Why do most doctors recommend physical activity for kids? And why is physical activity so important for childhood obesity? For an extensive history of physical education as an educational tool see the book “The History of Physical Education.”

How much physical activity should kids get?

Well, if they’re physically active in school, then there’s no need to worry too much about how much playtime is needed. However, when children aren’t being properly nutritionally fed at home or during afterschool hours, it becomes increasingly problematic.

When do parents begin worrying about their kids’ weight?

If you notice sudden changes in your kid’s weight (such as suddenly dropping five pounds or gaining 10) than you might want to contact your pediatrician. A doctor can diagnose any problems related to being overweight or underweight and can offer advice on nutrition. It’s also good to check whether the child has been sleeping well. Do they fall asleep easily? Are they tired during the day and getting less sleep on average? These could be some of the early signs that something else may be going on. An overweight child who isn’t sleeping well and is tired all the time could benefit from a referral to a dietician to address nutritional issues.

What does being physically fit mean?

Kids should move around regularly throughout their lives. That means playing and exercising outdoors. For example, running down the road, playing tag, jumping rope, riding bikes or roller blades, swinging or climbing trees. Playing sports or dancing can also count. As kids grow older they should do things like skiing, swimming, soccer, football, tennis, basketball, rugby, lacrosse, volleyball, gymnastics or martial arts. Of course, these activities should always be done safely. There are lots of different types of exercise out there to choose from – and some are better suited for some youngsters than others. Check with your pediatrician before making decisions about which exercises to encourage in your family.

If kids spend too much time sitting, there are good reasons for worrying. Children who sit for long periods of time tend to do badly in school. Researchers who study this issue found that students who sat a lot during lessons did worse than students who were active. Also, according to research, the more kids sit the more likely they are to be obese as adults, and to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

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So what should we recommend for active, physically fit kids?

We know that physical activity boosts mood and improves concentration. A good number of studies show that physical activity helps people lose weight. Research suggests that physical activity improves social behavior and reduces antisocial feelings in young kids, teens, and adults alike. This makes sense: If kids don’t feel well-being because they’re not getting their share of physical activity, then they’re more likely to act out. According to one theory, physical activity levels in children can predict future success in jobs requiring problem-solving skills. Studies suggest positive effects on children’s cognitive abilities, including memory, attention span, critical reasoning skills, math and language fluency.

Physical activity improves brain function in all areas, but especially those parts involved in the planning and carrying out of goal-directed movements.

In a nutshell, the physical activity boost gives kids better balance, coordination, control, muscle strength and endurance. All the basic physical skills that kids learn in physical education come together in physical activity.

And there’s another benefit to taking part in regular physical activity – it improves academic performance.

In fact, a number of researchers believe that a lack of physical activity is directly implicated in poor grades and absenteeism among high school students.

According to one team of scientists, physical activity improves kids’ social skills.

Research suggests that physical activity promotes the creation of friendships and bonds between members of social groups. Physical activity also promotes cooperation between family members and friends, and increases the ability to make new friends. Kids who are very inactive are often described as having low social competence.

Parents play an important role in encouraging physical activity in their kids.

While children should be encouraged to exercise, as they grow older, parents must take care to supervise them and to set limits appropriately. For example, children should never run on paths, streets, or highways. Parents also have rights to supervise children’s use of computer games. Too much time spent in front of television screens, video games, or computer screens are linked to negative health consequences.

And one more thing…physical activity boosts mental health.

Many children suffer from depression and anxiety. They experience symptoms such as feeling sad and overwhelmed, or having trouble concentrating. Depression is common in kids who are overly concerned about their weight or body size, or who have eating disorders, bulimia, or anorexia nervosa. Some depressed kids have suicidal thoughts, although most will never actually act upon the ideas. There are many forms of treatments available for depressed kids, with talk therapy being the first line treatment for most cases. The other option is psychotropic drugs (medications used to treat psychiatric conditions). Physical activity can often help with depression and anxiety since it offers distraction, energy, and enjoyment. It’s easy to find fun ways to keep kids active while still allowing them to rest. Check out my articles on “10 Tips for Promoting Positive Self Esteem”, and “5 Healthy Exercise Ideas for Kids” for more info… (more coming soon!)

Doing physical activity with kids can promote positive changes in body shape.

When people participate in activities such as sports, dance, martial art, yoga, and ballet, they develop lean muscles and lose fat mass. This leads to an improved figure. This is why physical activity is recommended for weight reduction (and for maintaining a healthy weight). In addition, participation in physical activity helps children maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Overly active kids tend to eat more fruits and vegetables due to improved appetite. So they end up doing their body good by consuming more fiber and less harmful fats! Exercise lowers blood pressure and keeps blood vessels elastic and strong. Cardiovascular fitness also reduces chances of developing serious medical conditions later on, when cardiovascular functions are already compromised.

That was a long introduction (sorry I’m Canadian, we like introducing things), here are 31 ways physical activity can boost your childs grades.

In addition, participation in physical activity helps children maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Overly active kids tend to eat more fruits and vegetables due to improved appetite. So they end up doing their body good by consuming more fiber and less harmful fats!

Exercise lowers blood pressure and keeps blood vessels elastic and strong. Cardiovascular fitness also reduces chances of developing serious medical conditions later on, when cardiovascular functions are already compromised.

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[contact-form-7 id=”5132″ title=”Section Header Form”] That was a long introduction (sorry I’m Canadian, we like introducing things), here are…

31 ways physical activity can boost your child’s grades.

  1. It improves vision through proper eye development (the ability to focus and close the eyes).
  2. The heart pumps and lungs expand which help oxygen intake. They also help with breathing capacity.
  3. Muscles are strengthened for activities of daily living and sports.
  4. Brainpower is sharpened. Kids who participate have higher intelligence scores later on.
  5. It prevents depression and lessens stress.
  6. Mood stability and emotional wellbeing.
  7. Immunity improves as well due to increased production of antibodies against infections.
  8. Learning skills such as self-regulation, problem solving, attentional focusing.
  9. Children become creative and imaginative.
  10. Social interaction increases especially if children play together.
  11. Motor development through strength and coordination.
  12. Body image boosts confidence and self-esteem.
  13. It lowers risk of obesity.
  14. Increased sense of security and safety.
  15. Gives children a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
  16. Strengthens family bonds.
  17. Healthy sleep patterns increase.
  18. Improved mental faculties including memory, reasoning and comprehension.
  19. Self discipline is maintained.
  20. Decreased risks of ADHD or ADD.
  21. Mental energy increases. Kids stay alert and energetic all day long.
  22. Better concentration leads to better school performance.
  23. It boosts academic performance by strengthening language learning abilities.
  24. It promotes positive thinking and self-image.
  25. Creativity and imagination flourish.
  26. Sleep quality improves.
  27. Improves concentration and cognitive function.
  28. Energy and mood regulation improves.
  29. Increased productivity.
  30. Increases in athletic skills including coordination, balance, endurance, speed and reflexes as well as agility and leg muscles.

* * *

I hope you got something out of this list. Don’t just think about it, start doing it! Exercise should be an integral part of everyone’s life, not just some people’s lives. Everyone knows someone whose parents would let them go without exercise while they were growing up. But now, people have come to realize that exercise is vital for our physical and overall health. That being said, it is important that your child participates in physical activity every day. If they don’t, they may lose out on a lot of benefits from participating in other daily activities.

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How To Ensure Your Child Stays Active

If you know your child is not getting enough physical activity during the day, talk with his/her doctor. Some doctors will prescribe a special fitness program for your child. A physical activity prescription will tell you how much exercise your child needs and how often he/she needs to perform these exercises. Make sure to follow the doctor’s guidance to get the best results. Your child needs regular exercise throughout all stages of childhood.

The most common types of activities recommended for early childhood are aerobics, swimming, and dancing. As your child gets older, the type of physical activity you do will depend on what he likes. For example, if your child loves soccer or baseball, then those activities can continue. You could even work those into other daily activities. Another example is playing video games. It can be fun to combine physical activity with that.

It’s great if your community supports physical activity programs for young people. Find out what local options are available to you, and sign up your child at one of the many programs in existence. 

There are community groups that offer group and individual exercise classes for pre-school aged children.

Programs range from once weekly classes where the instructor accompanies each class, to twice weekly classes, to monthly one-on-one sessions. All are designed to improve physical fitness and overall health while socializing with peers.

You can encourage your child to be physically active by joining him/her on walks around the neighborhood and park areas. Even going for a bike ride is a way for a kid to get moving. The point is to make exercise fun for your child and allow him to develop a habit. You can find out about how to incorporate physical activity easily into your everyday life, along with making your home safe places for physical activity too, by visiting www.activekids.com.

Aerobic exercise is the easiest form of physical activity for children since it doesn’t require any specialized equipment.

Aerobic exercise involves increased heart rate and respiration, so it tends to be more tiring than activities that don’t involve these things. It’s ideal for children because it requires little effort and no additional equipment. Walking, biking, running, jumping rope, hiking, swimming, soccer, basketball, skating and kickboxing are examples of aerobic forms of activity.

One way to motivate your kid for healthful habits is to provide them with incentives as rewards for following them.

Rewards can also be used to reinforce behaviors that are established as part of a routine. For example, you might reward your child with a sticker if he completes three days a week of physical activity. There are lots of other ways of motivating your kids to be more active.

Here are 10 of my favorite ways to motivate your kid to adopt healthy habits:

  1. Make it Fun
  2. Reward With Goodie Bags
  3. Turn Exercise Into Play Time
  4. Keep a Journal
  5. Try New Activities
  6. Get Moving
  7. Play Sports Together
  8. Build a Fit Family Tree
  9. Do Team Building
  10. Choose Healthier Foods

How to Increase the Effectiveness of Active Playing?

Physical activity is not simply doing things; it is doing things in a certain way. When children play physically active, they are building skills and experience. You need to teach your child how to play safely, but you don’t necessarily need to require them to be completely still. Physical activity that follows the guidelines presented below is ideal for helping your child gain valuable experiences, learn lessons about physical fitness, increase coordination and motor skills, and develop self control.

Try to make time to play regularly.

Children play best when they have plenty of opportunity to play. Schedule a specific amount of time each day when your child can play actively, whether it’s indoors or out. This should be separate from school hours so your child has plenty of free time. Set aside a regular time for physical activity and stick to it.

Play outside daily is an excellent choice for active play.

Play outside provides your children with opportunities to build relationships with friends, explore new surroundings, exercise and burn calories, run and jump, swing, climb trees, crawl under obstacles, etc. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they adapt to a new place!

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Avoid schedules and routines when your children are young.

Allow them freedom to choose whenever and wherever to play. Schedules get in the way of exploration, creativity and adventure, and limit choices. Make the most of the days that you can spend outdoors! Children must develop adequate motor and perceptual skills before they can enjoy engaging in active play. They cannot yet appreciate physical activity and derive pleasure from it until they develop these basic skills. To develop a proper foundation for active play, children must learn fundamental movement skills, such as crawling, cruising, standing, walking, climbing stairs, throwing, catching, kicking and bouncing balls, riding stationary bikes, steering toys, etc.

Encourage your children to get involved in sports or team activities.

These activities give your child a chance to compete, be challenged, build character strengths, and receive social support as well. Play sports and join a sport club. Encourage your children to be members of a team so that they can learn teamwork. Consider enrolling in a youth sport organization.

Take trips to parks and playgrounds.

Go as a family or with friends. Have your child participate with other kids from the neighborhood. Look for places where there is open space to walk, bike ride, hike or skate.

Go for nature walks regularly.

These offer your child a unique opportunity to observe, explore, and play in nature.

These are just some of many things you can do to help your kid get and stay active. Now get active!!!

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