Exercise Improves Young Brains

Exercise benefits both young bodies and brains. Let’s look beyond physical fitness for muscle strengthening only to appreciate how the brain can benefit from physical exertion, too.

Researchers ran school-age kids through exercises including running on a treadmill and doing sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, and squats, followed by academic testing. Kids with better strength or endurance had a stronger working memory and math skills. (Parents magazine, May 2017, p. 20)

I love to watch children, and particularly my grandchildren, playing on the playground equipment at the local park. No sooner do they get to the park than they are off and running to get to the playground. No hesitation. There are bars to climb and challenging loops to dangle one-armed from in reach for the next loop. Swinging bridges to test their balance and tall poles to figure out how to descend in fireman style. These fun activities take strength and confidence to complete. In the trying there’s a good deal of mind exercises that take place in tandem with the varying levels of physical exertion. As the child gets older their skills naturally improve with practice. The best part is both body and mind reap important rewards. Scholastically speaking, so do their grades.

Exerting energy is a win-win for youngsters. Parents might even see better sleep patterns, too.

Getting sweaty is good

Kids will get sweaty but that’s also good. That shows they are playing hard. ¬†And there’s a lot of happy times and smiles to keep the blues away. When playtime is done, all those stinky sweat smells can be washed away before bedtime hugs.

Create Physical Play

Children won’t figure out the optimizing of brain function. That’s for the adults to know. They’ll just have a good time playing. And we will, too. The results will show up in the classroom and in their moods. It seems exercise is among the best preventative medicines for depression. With childhood depression on the rise, why not lessen the risk with a whole lot of play. Get outdoors. Throw a ball. Ride those bicycles. Take a picnic along to keep the tummy happy, too. Run, skip, jump rope, or roller blade. Hike a trail. Get moving and create family memories that benefit everyone and last a lifetime.