For centuries, it has been understood that exercise improves cognitive function and other body processes. There has also been an assumption that better cognitive function can be translated into improved academic performance. This theory is important for people of all ages but can be much more relevant to children who are still developing and where academics is the main focus of their daily lives. Here are just a few ways that exercise can help improve academic performance in children.
Increased oxygen flow to the brain.
The entire human body requires oxygen to work effectively. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. When a person is sedentary, the body’s blood continues to travel to end capillaries, offering oxygen to the body’s vital components. However, when engaged in cardiorespiratory intensive exercise, the heart rate and respiratory rate increase to quickly distribute oxygen throughout the body. When the brain is exposed to increased supplies of oxygen-rich blood, it puts it to good use by increasing neurotransmitters and improving cognitive ability. Exercise essentially wakes the brain up and makes it more receptive to information processing.
Enhanced ability to focus.
When children are able to burn up physical energy through exercise, it helps improve cognition. If children are allowed to use energy, they are able to focus better and pay attention. Little minds have a short attention span because their bodies are developing rapidly. Oftentimes children quickly get distracted because their brains need time to process and absorb the new information. Allowing children to play between lessons can dramatically increase the amount of information retained. Exercise is the most effective way to get a child to sit still and retain information readily.
Exercise helps to improve self-esteem. Whether it is related to discovering what you are capable of or the increase in endorphins and a decrease in cortisol levels, exercise can dramatically change your view of yourself. While having better self-esteem does not directly correlate to improved academics, children who have better self-esteem tend to try more and aren’t as quick to limit themselves for fear of “looking dumb.” Asking questions rather than holding back and exploring without abandon does contribute to better academic performance. Children with better self-esteem tend to be more successful in all areas of their life, and higher grades are no exception!
Studies have shown that children who engage in vigorous cardio activity several times a week perform better academically than their sedentary peers. While recess and physical education classes can help, they do little to promote sustained cardio activity. Short of putting a treadmill in your living room, offering exciting activities such as trampoline jumping is the best way to get kids active. An hour of trampoline rebounding is the cardio equivalent to running for three hours — and much more enjoyable! At Rebounderz indoor trampoline park, we offer a variety of activities that will get, and keep, your child active. Check out our programs online or visit us today!