Get your Mind On! – Exercise And Its Effects On A Child’s Mind


It’s a big choice for so many parents nowadays: Do we let our kids play, exercise and have fun; or do we get them started on some homework or tuition? Well, good news parents! Both are not at odds with each other. If you’ve ever wondered what the effects of exercise on the brain are and what really goes on deep inside when your child exercises, here are 6 quick points on how exercise changes the brain for the better (No this won’t be a brain drain in itself)

  • Exercise for Kids boosts brain function and activity

The legends of physical activity boosting brain functions are true. What people have been saying with regards to exercise and brain function has been nothing short of factual and accurate. Research indicates that exercise can enhance scholastic performance. Scientifically, it is proven that the prefrontal cortex of your brain, which is used in learning, is stimulated when there is an increase in physical movement in the child. This is evident in King Chavez Primary School in the United States[1], where 20 random students were picked out and did an additional CrossFit Kids programme while the other students in the school remained in their normal school timetable and curriculum. What they found was that 100% of the students in the experimental group were more proficient or advanced in mathematics. It is interesting to note that the improvement in mathematic proficiency in these students was accomplished when they were and taken out of the classroom, away from academic instruction, for 30 minutes each day to do the Crossfit Kids program. This case study clearly shows that increased physical activity leads to an increased brain function.

  • Exercise helps to increase retention of facts and focus on a specific task

Many studies show that activity helps in improving concentration, as well as retention of information and facts. In 2003, Acta Pyschologica[2] compiled the statistics from dozens of studies on the short term effects on cognition and found that with exercise, there was an increase in cerebral blood flow and attention given to mentally-taxing tasks. Cerebral blood flow is described as the agent which delivers nutrients to the brain and aids in the retention of nerve cells and neural pathways. Therefore, as children begin to exercise more, it becomes easier for them to ‘lock in’ certain memories and facts in the classroom[3]. More time spent moving is not counter-beneficial to the efforts placed studying. In fact, mentally taxing tasks might just be easier for your child after a good round of CrossFit Kids!

  • Develops the confidence of a child

The confidence of a child is extremely important, especially at their developmental stages. Many children whom have reflected an issue of low confidence or self-esteem have shown negative effects on their grades. Therefore, it is imperative to help build that strong foundation of confidence whilst they are still young. Physical activity, especially weight training, has shown to tremendously impact a youth or a child’s self confidence in a very positive manner[4]. An extension of the study done in King Chavez Primary School was carried out and the researchers found that at the end of the program, the participants in the program not only enjoyed themselves they also increasingly challenged their physical limit with each session. Participants who were initially timid by some of the exercises later participated with more confidence and ease. Therefore, it shows that with a well facilitated program and a good classroom dynamic, the physical confidence of a child is bound to grow.

  • Vestibular Development

The vestibular system is, simply put, the sensory system in your child that provides the leading contribution about movement and sense of balance.[5] The system is extremely sensitive to the slightest changes in rotation and linear movement; it relates directly to gross motor skills and most importantly, the development of your learning capabilities. The quality of life depends, in many ways, on the proper functioning of the vestibular system.[6] It is therefore important to encourage positive changes to the vestibular system at its early stages of development: the growing stages of a child. Early intervention in the form of physical activity can help to alleviate and even eliminate the problems within the developing vestibular system. Therefore, physical activity is not only important in academics but also in the overall growth of your child.

  • Learning different movements boosts a positive inquisitive nature

Young children are naturally inquisitive and keen on learning (as evidenced by their endless questions). It is important for children to channel that curiosity to constructive learning, and Crossfit Kids does that. With the many fun and varied movements taught in the program, kids’ curiosity can be engaged, which helps them to be more involved in their classes and absorb the learning materials with greater ease.

  • Exercise helps children with ADHD

In an effort to help increase the attention span of a child, many studies have been emerging to prove that learning is optimal when kids are moving. A good way to help improve memory and enhance attention is to have continual breaks between study sessions to allow the child to move around.[7] These are keys to forming good and strong memories. Not only that, a study done by a school in Kansas City has reported a 60% decrease in disciplinary problems once a physical education program was implemented in the school.[8] One of the studies also showed that exercise has been a great tool for ADHD students to work off their energy and to regain focus for anger management and control of aggression. ADHD kids may be hard to handle but channelling their energy at the right time and in the right way will produce amazing results.

The evidence is overwhelming: exercise boosts a child’s brain function and aids in their holistic growth. So let your kids play, exercise and have fun. Sign your child up with CrossFit Kids Today!

[1] http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_Bakshi_SmarterKidsRev110909.pdf

[2] Douglas, Kate, et. al. www.newscientist.com. “11 Steps to a Better Brain,” May 28, 2005

[3] http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20070313/get-fit-improve-memory

[4] http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/psychological-aspects-of-resistance-training

[5] http://journal.crossfit.com/2011/02/kidsbrainfunction.tpl

[6] http://vestibular.org/pediatric-vestibular-disorders

[7] http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/02/09/taking-breaks-found-to-improve-attention/23329.html

[8] Jensen, Eric. Enriching the Brain: How to Maximize Every

Learner’s Potential, 2006. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., San Francisco.

#crossfit #crossfitkids #development #mentaldevelopment

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