You would have to have been living on another planet not to realise just how beneficial exercise is for kids’ physical health. It’s also not hard to see how being sporty can help them to improve their general wellbeing and mental health – skills like focus and concentration, team playing and cooperation (the type of skills we teach from a very young age to our Learn Play Grow kids) are also great for emotional and mental development.
Now we’ve heard that research is backing up exercise as a wonderful way to improve brain power and even eyesight. Are there no limits to the benefits of fitness and activity for developing children? We might be biased but we think that research is going to keep on proving our point again and again – we see it for ourselves in the kids we work and play with, and those who go on to join a sport as they get older. It’s such a great way to invest in your child’s health and it doesn’t have to cost much to get sporty and active either.
Research into fitness and brain power
A report has recently revealed a link between high intensity exercise and an increase in children’s cognitive skills, which is very exciting news. The study – which was the first to be carried out into the subject – tested children’s cognitive function after they carried out short bursts of high-intensity activity followed by low-intensity activity (sometimes called HIIT) and compared them with the results they got in children who’d taken part in moderate activity.
More than 300 kids aged between seven and 13 took part in the study, where they were given six tasks in two assessment categories: short-term memory and cognitive control (information processing and the how the mind overrides impulses.)
The children did the tasks before being assigned to one of two different test groups a HIIT group or another active group. They worked out for just 10 minutes every weekday morning for six weeks.
The kids were tested again after the trial and their performance was compared to their first results. They all showed improvements in working memory and cognitive control, but the children who took part in the HIIT group improved more than the activity group.
Playing outside is good for your eyesight
Another very interesting study has shown that children who play outside more are less likely to be near-sighted. It’s not hard to see why – kids who are stuck indoors on gadgets all day could be straining their eyes and are less likely to get beneficial vitamin D than their sporty friends who play out in natural light.
Experts are predicting that half the world’s population will be near-sighted in 30 years’ time because of a lack of natural light and too much staring at a screen. It’s recommended by experts that children get at least 15 hours a week of outdoor play time.
You know what we think….get the kids outside, playing a sport, having fun and running around like kids should. Whatever the experts say, we can’t help thinking that it’s common sense…