Exercise and physical activity at a young age benefit brain development and long-term health according to a study by a panel of 24 academics. The latest evidence shows that anything from walking to organised sport or simply playing outdoors is good for a child’s physical and mental development.

Physical activity benefits brain and body

According to experts, pupils who take part in physical activity or sport during school hours do not see their learning or exam results suffer. In fact, it has been found that even one session of an activity which raises the heart rate is beneficial. Children’s involvement in any form of physical activity can help prevent chronic diseases in adulthood including diabetes and heart disease. Exercise is also a key part of the treatment of certain childhood conditions. This is regardless of whether the activity is structured or unstructured. It is also irrelevant if it is in or outside of school time.

Exercise improves academic performance

“Time taken away from academic lessons in favour of physical activity has been shown not to come at the expense of scholastic performance” according to the panel. In a joint statement the experts stated the need for more parks, playgrounds and cycle lanes to be provided. “A single session of moderate physical activity has a benefit to brain function” they state.

“Physical activity before, during and after school improves cognition and performance. Mastery of fundamental movement skills is beneficial to achievement in children and youth,” they add.

The authors of the 2016 study include respected academics from the University of East London, Birmingham University and Exeter University.

Click here to read the full statement as it appeared in the British Journal of Sports Medicine: http://bit.ly/2mOnwA0




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