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How does exercise benefit Your Child’s Brain Development?

Physical activity is essential for improving overall health and cognitive abilities in a Child. Keep reading to know more.”

We all know that regular exercise is good for the physical health of your child, but it plays a significant role in brain-building as well as amps up the neurological abilities of the child.

Parents and educators must teach the importance of exercising to kids from an early age. As good habits formed in childhood tend to last forever in life. 

This article discusses how exercising boosts the thinking abilities and memory power of the child turning him into an academic genius.  

What happens in the brain and body when your child exercises? 

When we or our child exercise, the pumping rate of the heart increases which in turn accelerates the blood flow across the body as well as in the brain. Next,  

  • Now the brain gets exposed to more nutrients as well as more oxygen levels. This results in angiogenesis i.e. blood vessels grow in the areas of the brain related to rational thinking. 

Oxygen saturation deeply impacts the physical, social and intellectual performance of the child. 

  • Also, some proteins are also released in the brain that keeps the neurons (brain cells) healthy and further accelerate the growth of good neurons.  
  • The stress hormones are dramatically dropped. Alongside, exercising accelerate the generation of information processing neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin. 
  • Regular exercising maybe for 10-15 minutes incredibly improves brain functions, synaptic machinery and dendritic branching which are very important for healthy cognitive development.  

According to research conducted by the University of Granada, Spain, it was found that children undergoing any form of physical activity had more volume of grey matter as compared to their peers in the brain’s temporal and frontal regions. 

It’s this grey matter that helps them to be a better learner and have excellent visual processing and motor skills.  

What do you mean by “regular exercise”? 

Experts recommend doing one hour of exercise every day to seal a sharp memory. 

Playing sports is the best way to do it. When you child plays a group sport in a team, it automatically builds self-confidence and other social traits. 

If your child doesn’t like to play sports, nothing to worry about. Make your child involved in other physical activities that require body movement.     

Dancing, aerobics, biking, swimming or even throwing a Frisbee are good forms of exercising.  

Benefits of exercise on Brain

Physical activity releases the feel-good chemicals “endorphins” that tremendously improve the energy levels, uplift mood and make your child stay charged up. 

Let’s have a look at some of the important benefits of exercising on the brain. 

  • Improves Academic Performance  

Physical activities and exercise in any form help students to improve their mental and reasoning abilities. 

Studies have proven that physically active adolescents and children tend to score better in mathematics and reading as compared to students who don’t. 

The long-term and short-term memory is improved by big leaps the day the kids start doing physical activity. They started remembering things and attain phenomenal recalling abilities.   

Thereby, improving the overall grades.  

  • Reduced anxiety 

When the children experience anxiety, to resolve this they tend to get involved in things that further trigger more anxiety. 

This results in a vicious cycle. 

Physical activity tends to break this cycle and channelizing the kid’s energy in the right direction. 

Exercising helps them win over their emotions and develop a sense of accomplishment.  

  • Sharper memory  

The good chemicals “endorphins” not only alleviate the stress but also help a child to concentrate better. 

The analytical abilities are given a tremendous boost making it easier for a child to comprehend and solve any problem.   

The growth of new brain cells (neurons) is stimulated and keeps the mind fresh every time, thereby preventing age-related decline.  

  • Better sleep 

Physical activity plays a very important role in regulating your child’s sleep patterns. 

You can encourage your child to go cycling in the morning if she isn’t willing to do the exercise. 

At night, you can go for some relaxing exercises such as gentle stretching or yoga to promote sleep wellness.  

  • Higher self-esteem 

Fostering the good habit of inculcating physical activity in the daily routine of your child turns out to be an investment for life. 

The ROI is exceptional when it comes to mind, body and soul. 

Your child is able to access the sense of self-worth which in turns her stronger physically, emotionally and mentally. 

She would be able to enjoy even the smallest of success that she gets by achieving the milestones set for her physical activity.  

  • More energy 

Physical activity directly improves the cardiac health of your child. 

The regular ups and downs in the heart rate offer more energy to the body along with increased stamina to do daily chores. 

It turns out to be a great way to stay energized.  

  • Better resilience 

Over time, it may happen that your child may have to undergo various emotional and mental challenges. 

Exercising helps the children to sail the sea of emotions in a better way. 

Apart from that, exercise strengthens our immune system and makes it strong to deal with any kind of stress.   

  • Improved relationships 

It may happen that a child may be feeling lonely and is unable to make friends due to hesitation. 

This impacts badly on the child’s social and mental behavior. Encouraging group play or physical activities helps the child to develop self-confidence as well as a sense of companionship and belonging. 

It helps to fight social anxiety which if go untreated may hinder in your child’s way of emotional stability and social pressure.    

  • Concentration & Focus 

A child may feel distracted while studying in case she is surrounded by people or digital equipment like TVs, mobile phones etc. 

While doing exercise or physical workouts like playing games, enable a child to learn how to concentrate on their goal and achieve that.   

  • Improved self-realization  

When a child dances, walks, runs, jumps etc, it makes her feel happy about what all things the body can do rather than just appearances. 

Knowing the importance of a healthy body act as a positive signal for the child and in turn, makes the child learn the significance of self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence.  

How to overcome obstacles to exercise?

Taking the first step is always difficult.  

We understand that it’s always easier said than done. 

So, here are some barriers to exercise and how to overcome them easily.   

  • Feeling Exhausted  

It may happen that the kid is feeling tired, stressed up or occasionally feel depressed. She may feel that working out may make her feel worse. 

Break the myth! 

Physical activity or doing a little exercise is a powerful energizer.  

Studies have proved that just a 5-minute walk can turn out to be a powerhouse of energy and charge you up for another 30 minutes walk! 

  • Feeling hopeless 

If your kid is feeling hopeless or feels de-motivated, doing exercise is the best way to keep her/him mentally stable. 

You can make your child start slow such as short bursts of dancing, walking etc or other low-impact exercises and then slowly she will start enjoying. 

  • Feeling bad 

Does your child feel bad about herself or her inabilities? 

Ask their friends to exercise with your child. Accomplishing even the smallest milestone will encourage them to do much better and gain body confidence.  

  • Feeling pain  

Your kid may be suffering from a certain injury or disability which is creating problems in her exercising routine. Don’t ignore it. 

It’s better to consult with the doctor on how to divide the exercises into small yet effective chunks that help in the brain development of the child.    

Easy ways to involve your child in exercising  

You don’t need to book the clock to make your child do yoga or go cycling. 

If your child is hesitating in participating in physical activities, as parents or tutors you can do the following: 

  • Involve in Home chores  

Involve your kid in and around the home chores. Get her to wash the dishes, sweep the patio or mow the lawn.  

These small activities have a bigger impact on their physical and mental well-being. 

  • Prefer walking to nearby areas  

Having a doctor’s appointment nearby or going shopping in the corner street? Ask your child to either take a walk or prefer using a bicycle to go to nearby spaces.  

  • Idolize yourself  

As parents, the children will copy you for sure. They’ll look up to you in whatever they do. So, jog around the soccer ground, play hide and seek or tagging, go canoeing, etc. This will definitely motivate the kids.  

  • Get creative  

Make your child involved in an activity of their choice. Don’t restrict them to walking or cycling. 

Give them the freedom to go hiking, pick fruits at the orchard, join a martial arts class or do yoga. 

Make exercise a part of life that they enjoy! 

In a nutshell, let’s have a quick sneak peek into the cognitive and neurological benefits offered by exercises:  

  • Improved emotional stability 
  • Sharpen long-term and short-term memory 
  • Decreased stress and social anxiety 
  • Improved blood circulation and angiogenesis  
  • Delayed ageing process  
  • High levels of energy and good sleeping patterns 
  • Concentration and focus 
  • Mitigates neurological conditions  

Bottom Line  

Exercising positively impacts cognitive performance as well as thinking process both directly and indirectly. 

Physical activity not only helps in releasing the good hormones that are vital for the growth of brain cells or neurons but also aid in the growth of blood vessels in the brain. 

These are vital for the abundance and survival of neurons of the brain’s new cells. 

So, if you want your kid to stay in high spirits and get good grades, start teaching them the importance of physical activity and get them involved in these.    

For more such updates, stays tuned with us and explore the A-Z of the perfect upbringing of your child. 

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