Exercise + Child = Enhanced Brain Performance
We have always known that exercise is great for you, even when we choose to sit on the sofa with our chocolate biscuits and chips to watch a movie, or engage in interactive online entertainment. But just knowing a basic short fact that exercise helps improve your brain's performance could be enough for you to trade in the biscuits, chips and lethargic body and move outside for some fresh air and fun.
Psychiatrist J. Ratey MD has been exploring the positive link between aerobic activity and learning. He has found that even moderate exercise will supercharge mental circuits to sharpen thinking and enhance memory. Now, I am not saying that you need to take your 3 year old out for a 30 minute jog, because you will end up carrying them after just 1 minute. What I am saying is that for kids at any age, if they are encouraged to play and exert energy outside, which to them is just having fun, then you are achieving a similar goal.
Exercise for kids is about regular outdoor activity, laughing, playing and exertion without even knowing it. 20 - 30 minutes of physical activity and having fun outside not only helps the heart but also the brain. Additionally, most solitary, team or competitive play also develops hand / eye coordination. What's important though is it doesn't have to be complicated. Well designed play centres offer great activities for kids ticking all the necessary boxes, but they can become extremely expensive, especially of you go regularly or have more than one child. The easy and more convenient way to encourage laugh and play exercise outside is to have outdoor fun activities available for your children in the back or front yard. The cost is negligible when you consider they can spend an hour a day on say a trampoline or jumping castle for months and years to come. Or running around and climbing and sliding on an activity centre. Or set up an obstacle course with a slide, jumping castle, hopper balls, Giant Pick Up Sticks and a Frisbee Target game.
There are so many ways to encourage outdoor exercise - and more importantly, if your kids see you doing it too they will be more encouraged to join you....and outdo you!! Supercharge those mental circuits, sharpen your thinking and enhance your memory - you'll need it to keep up with the kids!! Even more importantly you are empowering them for years of learning ahead.