While it may seem like play is a distraction that keeps children from focusing on school, it can actually have multiple positive effects on their academic performance, especially if it involves physical activity. Working out doesn’t only have a huge impact on the body, like helping children’s muscles and bones develop – it’s also very beneficial for the brain. This means that your child’s grades may actually go up if they exercise more often.
Whether it’s swimming, riding a bike, or playing a team sport, staying physically active can work wonders for the brain. Read on to find out in what ways. You’ll have plenty of reasons to encourage your child to exercise!
How can exercise improve learning?
Studies suggest that there’s more activity in the brain minutes after you’ve been physically active than after you’ve sedentary. Research also shows that exercise, especially aerobic activity, improves brain function in several aspects, such as:
- Since heart rate is increased due to physical activity, it enhances the flow of oxygen to the brain. This helps children think and retrieve information they’ve learned.
- It leads to the production of a larger amount of neurotransmitters, including endorphins, which produce the feelings of pleasure. Children are then more motivated to study and try harder at school.
- It boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophins, which are responsible for the growth and development of nerve cells.
All of these changes improve children’s concentration, focus, memory, and learning capabilities. This can tremendously help their school performance as they can memorize and absorb the study material successfully and effortlessly. Exercise is also recommended as a form of treatment for children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
How does exercise influence mental health?
Being at the top of your game in terms of cognitive functioning isn’t the only prerequisite for success at school. Children who are more emotionally stable are also more likely to do well at school. Here’s how it can help:
- Less stress: Apart from helping cognitive development, exercise helps by regulating stress and reducing anxiety, which has an overall positive effect on school performance. If their mental well-being is nurtured, children are able to handle their responsibilities with minimal anxiety. Even if they come up against a setback, like a difficult math problem, they will be more likely to persevere and power through.
- Better mood: Since exercise is fun and children love it, they’re going to be in a better mood after jumping, running, or swimming. This will make them more eager to tackle their responsibilities. It makes them less restless, puts them in a good mood, and results in eagerness to learn.
- Better sleep: Children sleep better after they’ve been physically active. They don’t make a fuss about bedtime as they can’t wait to go to sleep after a busy day. When they rest well during the night, they can concentrate on studying during the day.
What types of exercise are best for improving school performance?
Any type of physical activity can be beneficial for your child’s well-being and, consequently, their grades. You can expose them to different types of sports and let them choose the one they like best. Some children prefer individual sports, others like being on a team. Some kids want to jump on a trampoline all day and others prefer ball games. Regardless of what they choose, it should be an activity they enjoy doing and will do gladly. This way, they’ll be motivated to do it in the long term and their grades will be more likely to go up.