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When Kids Exercise, They Think And Learn Better
New Family Fitness Website Helps Kids Stay Active For Better Performance In School
"We usually think about exercise as something essential for physical health," says Sarah Clachar, family fitness expert and founder of FitFamilyTogether.com, "Studies are confirming what many parents already have figured out. When our kids move, they gain in cognitive health as well."
She adds, "As a country, we're facing a serious crisis right now. Screen time is cutting into our children's ability to think and focus. Intimately connected to this trend is the decrease in our children's activity and the loss of precious brain 'muscle'. The epidemic of childhood obesity is accompanied by a less publicized but equally as destructive one – the decreasing cognitive abilities that come with inactivity"
Exercise helps children perform better in school in a number of ways.
· Exercise helps children relax and focus more. A good run around the yard makes it easier for children to sit still and perform tasks like reading.
· Exercise helps children manage stress. Kids are experiencing anxiety over schoolwork and peer issues. But they are also feeling the stress spilling over from their parents as families struggle in this tough economy
· Exercise helps children with complex problem-solving like math. Research conducted by a team out of the Medical College of Georgia showed exercise specifically helps in increasing math performance – even without additional math tutoring. The researchers were able to demonstrate that exercise increases activity in the prefrontal of the brain, an area responsible for complex thinking, decision-making and correct social behavior.
"However, it's important to note, the major benefits to the brain from exercise only come through regular exercise over the long-term," points out Clachar.
Faced with tighter budgets, more and more schools are cutting physical education programs. "But the truth is, "asserts Clachar, "the ultimate way for children to get more exercise is with their parents. Us adults need it too!"
"Exercising together as a family not only helps everyone in the family develop stronger bodies and stronger minds. It also helps build stronger family bonds," says Clachar.
To help bring more exercise into your child's routine, Clachar suggests the following:
· Make family exercise a regular before-dinner or after-dinner activity. Go for a bike ride, play some soccer. Or even put some music on and dance for a good half an hour.
· Integrate exercise into your children's homework time. Set a time for half an hour and ask them to work in a focused manner. Then when the timer goes off, allow them a 10-15 minute break and do something active together like jump rope or shoot some basketball.
"There are innumerable places you can fit exercise into your family life and enjoy the benefits together. If you can't find the time for a hour-long workout, just squeeze in little bouts of movement. The most important thing is to move more."
For more information or to read the whole article, visit http://fitfamilytogether.com/
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FitFamilyTogether.com is a website that provides tips, strategies and inspiration for families who want to spend more active time together. For more information or to develop a free customized family fitness plan, go to http://www.fitfamilytogether.com.