With a new school year upon us, homework, school activities, computer and alone time seem to take precedent. With 16% of school children now classified as overweight, regular exercise is more important than ever. It’s surprising that current guidelines recommend that children engage in at least 1 hour of physical activity daily but only 6% to 8% of primary and secondary schools provide daily physical education (PE).
Did you know that;
- Fewer than one in four students gets at least 30 minutes of daily exercise?
- School-age kids and teens spend an average of 4.8 hours per day on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games?
Yikes! I’d like to share with you an interesting article that the CBC news (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) put out about a High School in Saskatoon that put treadmills and exercise bikes into a math classroom. Students did 20 minutes of cardio before class.
An interesting point is that this school is for those with learning difficulties, with over half the students having ADHD. They couldn't sit still, many had behavioral problems, and couldn't learn. With the cardio equipment in the classroom, most of the kids had jumped a full grade in reading, writing and math in one semester. Plus their attention span increased from 10 minutes to 3 hours!
The exercise altered their brain chemistry enough to make learning possible, AND it greatly improved their behavior. Exercise is food for the brain,” says Dr. John Ratey of Harvard University. Studies show that exercise builds new brain cells in the part of the brain that helps with memory and learning, he added.
If you want to hear more about the CBC report on exercise and the Saskatoon school’s pilot project click here Brain gains.
As a teenager, many students are overworked at school and overstressed at home. They engross their spare time on facebook, television and video games. Encouraging exercise helps to overcome the stress of growing up and adds energy, confidence and makes you feel good.
Exercise is just one part of maintaining a healthy body weight and a fit mind. Nutrition plays an important part. Did you know that certain foods help your grey matter? Eating fish helps prevent stroke. Eating steak helps to reduce brain shrinkage. Blueberries helps shield your brain from stress. And kids of all ages should stay away from diet soda – the aspartame is linked to headaches – which may increase migraines and have no nutritional value.
The best results come from a long-term strategy involving a permanent change in both eating and activity habits. It is important to make physical activity a priority for both you and you children. The more active the exercise the better. The human body was meant to move and physical activity should be part of your life.Strive for an overall plan to increase your health, fitness, well-being and quality of life. Creating an exercise habit starts with you!