Neuroscientists around the world agree that physical activity is the best medicine to maintain brain health throughout all stages of life. This is because during physical exercise the flow of oxygen to the brain is increased, and the number of brain neurotransmitters is elevated, which in turn helps with concentration and learning, as well as memory and higher thinking skills.
Sport participation and mastering fundamental movement skills, especially in the school environment, can also provide many other holistic benefits such as boosting motivation and classroom attitude, increasing communication skills and encouraging social interaction.
Australian guidelines suggest a certain amount and variety of exercise for children and adolescents each week based on their age, to keep children healthier on a physical level as well as looking after general wellbeing and mental health. As healthy children are often thought to also perform better academically, there are plenty of reasons to keep encouraging your children and adolescents to be more physically active and create healthy long term habits. Getting involved in TAS sport at any year level is the perfect way to balance student’s school life and enrich their overall schooling experience, and with over 10 sports to choose from there’s plenty of opportunities to try something new.
Below are some of the benefits of physical activity on young brains in the classroom.
Inclusivity & Belonging On & Off The Field
Sport can be the ticket to helping your child improve in areas of attention, working memory, fluid intelligence, spatial processing and verbal processing and this can help to support students to achieve their best in the classroom.
You might, at some point, have thought that time away from classroom lessons in favour of physical activity might come at the cost of good grades. However, one particular study highlighted that physical exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is home to verbal learning and memory, when undertaking workouts that get the blood pumping.
Sport and its impact on children in the classroom has been found to positively influence:
- Higher levels of attentiveness in learning situations, including concentration and recalling academic content.
- Problem solving skills.
- Critical thinking, decision making and moral reasoning.
- The skills needed to make effective snap decisions and function under pressure, which can often translate to a person who is better at making deadlines and working in stressful situations in the future.
Cognitive Development For Life Skills
Frequent participation in sport and physical activity at a young age encourages positive cognitive development and the enhancement of brain function through increased blood flow to the brain, high levels of norepinephrine (a form of adrenaline which can help with mood and concentration) and encourages happy endorphins.
New evidence suggests that the parts of the brain which process movement are the same sections which process learning, such as reading or calculating math. Another study also showed that when children who participated in 30 minutes or more of aerobic physical activity were compared with children who watched television for the same amount of time, the former children cognitively outperformed the latter. Perhaps not surprising, but certainly interesting!
At any age, improving your fitness levels can increase performance in everything from education to life skills. If this is something you think you and your family could benefit from, read our latest blogs on how to encourage active children.