Physical activity is important for children's overall health and well-being. It’s how they exercise, make new friends, and it even promotes the healthy growth and development of their bodies, as well as offering many other physical advantages. However, physical activity also has a number of benefits for the developing brain. In this article, we’ll look at what exercise does for the brain, particularly when it comes to child brain development.
The Relationship Between Exercise and the Brain
While being physically active is beneficial for our brains no matter how old we are, it is especially impactful on children’s brains. This is mainly because their brains are still growing and developing, so the effect of exercise is even greater. Here are some ways in which physical activity can affect a child's brain:
- Improved Cognitive Function - There is a strong connection between exercise and brain function, as physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function, including attention, memory, and learning. This is primarily due to the fact that physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, which can help to nourish brain cells and improve their function. The improved cognitive functioning children may experience when they get enough exercise can even lead to enhanced performance in school.
- Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills - Children who are physically active may also be better at solving problems and thinking critically. This is because physical activity can help to develop coordination, balance, communication, evaluation, inference, and other critical-thinking skills that are important for problem-solving.
- Increased Creativity - Physical activity can also help to stimulate creativity in children. When children are physically active, they are more likely to be engaged and focused, which can help to foster creative thinking and unique perspectives.
- Improved Mental Health - Physical activity has been linked to improved mental health in children, including reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. The main reason for this comes from the fact that physical activity can help to reduce stress and improve mood. Reducing stress helps children to clear their minds and feel better about themselves, which can increase self-esteem and overall happiness.
- Better Sleep - Physical activity can also help children to sleep better at night, including falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer throughout the night. This is important because sleep is essential for proper brain development and function, and physical activity helps children to improve their sleep quality.
Overall, physical activity can have a number of positive effects on children's brains. It is important for children to get regular physical activity in order to benefit from these effects. This can be achieved through a variety of activities, such as sports, play, recess, P.E. class, and extracurricular activities or afterschool programs.
At the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta, we do whatever it takes to build great futures. We aim to serve the children in our communities, especially by keeping them safe and healthy while promoting respect and equality. One of the ways we do this is through our afterschool programs, which provide a safe place for all children where they have access to homework help, fitness activities, workforce development, literacy activities, and more.
Each of our programs and clubs provides kids with a safe place to play, learn, exercise, and receive nutritious foods. Find out how you can get involved with our organization by signing your child up for a club or afterschool program, making a donation, or volunteering to help our cause today!