If your child has trouble sitting still, has difficulty concentrating in class, or isn’t performing as well academically as you think he or she could, consider this: physical activity may help.
A recent review published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine demonstrates a positive relationship between physical activity and improved academic performance.
Researchers suggest this improved performance may be due to the fact physical activity enhances brain function and thinking skills by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain and the triggered release of endorphins.
The studies reviewed consistently suggest that more active children demonstrate greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized academic tests than their less active counterparts.
Though the evidence is compelling, studies have yet to confirm that fitness alone leads to better test scores in children. Other factors, such as a family’s socioeconomic status (and the resulting opportunities for childhood activity and sport participation) must be taken into account.
It does appear however, that additional opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day would enhance a child’s ability to learn. Some ways to do this: