Author – Pooja Prabbhan
(Reading time ~ 5 mins)
Ah, the wonderful world of gaming apps, TV and ‘educational content’ on YouTube. What a great way to keep a child engaged for hours! The possibilities to simulate a child’s brain today are endless.
But what if we told you that long periods of inactivity might actually be shriveling their brain?
According to John Ratey, the author of the book ‘Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain’, we have forgotten that we are born movers and are slowly removing movement from our lives. This inactivity is killing our brains and as parents, we must avoid subjecting our children to this.
Now you might say, ‘But my child is active and runs around the house, isn’t that enough?’
Irrespective of what your child’s BMI and active levels look like, devoting a set amount of time for play in your little one’s schedule is crucial. From creating a learning environment, combating addiction, keeping your child motivated to equipping them to deal with stress better, exercise will help your child in more ways than one.
It was observed in a study that school students who exercised in gym class were better prepared to learn what was taught in other classes. Now imagine what this could do to a child who exercises regularly. Just like how regular weightlifting can pump up those muscles, regular exercise protects memory and sharpens your child’s thinking skills.
Now if you’ve been wondering whether there’s a particular workout which can turbocharge the performance of your child’s brain, the answer is a resounding no. In fact, you needn’t sign up for an intensive workout session just to keep those brain cells functioning. A 30-minute, moderate intensity exercise is all your child would ever need to accelerate the overall functioning of the brain.
Aside from shedding those extra pounds and keeping cortisol levels in check, exercise also boosts dopamine and targets neurotransmitters that improve positive feelings. It also acts like a reward system that coaxes the brain to take up more challenges. So, cheers for that first goal, a complete cartwheel or a successful Zumba routine boosts confidence and raises a go-getter.
We’re social animals and love to be surrounded by like-minded peers. Children who exercise or learn a sport together learn about healthy competition, empathy, team spirit and make friends for life. Not to mention the friendships that parents foster between them, outside the class.
While you could choose the form of activity, what’s crucial is understanding the need to be consistent at what your child does. As per a recent study, sticking to a workout plan of moderate intensity over a period of six months has been directly linked to the increase in the volume of selected brain regions.
Any form of brisk exercise raises your child’s heart rate, improves breathing and increases the blood flow to their brain. This leads to neurogenesis, a process which promotes the production of neurons in those areas of your child’s brain that control thinking. This helps the child develop an awareness of their ability to manage stress and gives them the ability to deal with situations. After all, exercise is a good form of stress.
Do you need any more reasons to sign your child up for some zesty workouts? We don’t think so!