0556 GMT December 13, 2019
According to a study publishes in the British Journal of Sports Magazine, school students who take part in physical activities like long jumps and running during lessons have better cognitive skills than their peers who have sedentary style of learning. This type of learning has been adopted by schools in west without reducing the learning time. It’s typically about making learning fun. For instance, jumping on the spot to answer true or false activity in class. The study goes on to say that the incorporating physical activity with learning has significant effect on educational outcomes with improved attention span, thehealthsite.com wrote.
This could take a little time and experience for schools in India to adopt. The crux is to make children interested in physical activities and it shouldn’t be ignored. It does make a child’s mind sharper. Children who break the shackles of sedentary life and step put to exercise feel fresh and rejuvenated. Experts believe that this makes their brain healthy, rids them of stress and tension to grasp more in a much better way.
Sedentary life and children
Once the child starts his formal school, he’s exposed to six to eight hours of classroom sitting. Adding to it is the craze for digital world where children are hooked to social media and video games. In totality, if you look at it, there’s hardly anytime when the child is getting involved in a physical activity. This lifestyle could be one of the major contributors to childhood obesity and related diseases later in life. It means dull cognitive power and performance in classroom.
Demand for physical activity among children
Depending on the age and current exposure to physical activity, children require 60 minutes of workout time on an average. This could be moderate or high-intensity workout depending what suits child the best. The best idea is to enroll the child in an activity in his school. School provides a formal environment for kids to learn. This also becomes crucial in teaching them participation, team spirit and even leadership qualities under proper guidance.
In India, schools are often under great pressure to perform better in academically. Institutes and schools are pressed for time to complete syllabus in time. Therefore, the only way out they could think of is cutting on extracurricular activities such as sports to allocate extra time for studies.
Physical activity and cognitive power
There have been powerful evidences that prove that children who are physically active and have an exercise routine are better at maths and learning words and spellings. Physical activity is strongly linked with brain’s region that’s responsible for cognitive tasks. Thus, it shows improved results when the tasks are taken with proper exercise routine.
Experts also believe that this link between physical activity and cognition is highest for executive functioning. Executive functioning means higher-order cognitive functions. Thus, a physically active body has higher ability to achieve these goals. These functions involve improved memory, concentration and reflexes. These three factors are important for performing better in school. It has been found that executive functioning among less active children is less developed this their grades in school are lower.
How cognition is linked with physical activity?
In simple terms, it’s because of physiological reasons. Moderate intensity workout like brisk walking, running, etc. make physiological changes in body and in brain. They make flow of oxygenated blood to brain better resulting in better performance. In the long run, continuing with exercise can make structural and functional change to the brain. For instance, it may result in stronger brain connections.
On the other hand, physical activity also puts cognition skills at work. For instance, if the child plays football, he may need to apply his mind in strategizing the game plan, precision required to score a goal or dealing with counterparts to stop them for scoring. All these movements require stronger brain at work. Even a simple exercise like walking needs brain to control body’s movement. Thus, these activities also help strengthen brain’s cognitive power. With this, experts also believe that rather than the time spent in physical activities, it’s more important to see what activities are involved. In simpler terms, qualitative aspect of activities matters more.
There have studies which show that activities that include complex rules, or are high-intensity, or involve a lot of movement, are the most beneficial in bettering child’s cognitive skills.
What to do?
In case you fall under the category of parents who believe academics is everything, this may be an eye opener for you. Today, children need to have every skill, from better scores in schools to sports experience. Even for better grades, you need to give your child a vent to rejuvenate his grasping cells to perform better. So, in a way he may score better as per your expectation if he has optimal physical activity.
Convince your child to step out and play more than sitting indoors. Enrol him in game club of his choice. You may want to give him a fix slot where he must go out and play. Physical activity also boosts metabolism, increases immunity against infections and diseases and thus result in reduced absenteeism in school.