ESSA highlights the benefits for children of exercising outside of school activities

As most Australian children return to school this week, Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) encourages parents to try to encourage exercise outside of school, stressing that although children have more opportunities to be physically active at school versus learning at home – walking up and down stairs, physical education classes, lunchtime games, commuting to school at back and forth – they still don’t get enough exercise from school activities alone.

Anita Hobson-Powell, Chief Executive of ESSA, says: “It is reassuring that children are encouraged to move when they are at school, but there is a difference between physical activity and exercise. Exercise is planned, structured, repetitive and targeted movement that is intended to improve or maintain physical fitness and there is only a limited amount of time in a week that a school is able to include this in the schedule. education of children. Physical activity is movement performed by muscles that requires energy. In other words, any movement we do is actually physical activity and that is what our children need the most.

“Participating in sports teams, going on bike rides or bush walks with the family, swimming at the beach or even playing active video games are all ways to encourage children to move their bodies a little more by growth in one day.

“Every day, research points to the power of movement, not only to our overall health and well-being, but also to the brain power of our children!”

Studies suggest that exercise can benefit children by stimulating their vocabulary growth. Exercise is known to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, so it makes sense that motor movement helps encode new words.

The research results indicated that swimming had the greatest impact and the researchers attribute this to the amount of energy each exercise takes from the brain. While some exercises require people to think about what they’re doing, swimming is an activity kids can do without too much thought or instruction.

Hobson-Powell adds “Physical activity provides our children with a wide range of important developmental benefits, and when adopted early in life, it also increases the chances of maintaining an active lifestyle until adulthood.”

It’s also important for kids to move when they’re young, because active kids develop physical literacy, which is the knowledge and understanding of how to move their body, and the confidence and motivation to move. , and the social skills to be active with other people.

Engaging in physical activity as a child predicts participation in physical activity and exercise in adulthood. This ensures that the benefits of physical activity are passed on from childhood to adulthood, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, illnesses and injuries.

Conversely, those who do not engage in physical activity in childhood are unlikely to be active in adolescence and adulthood; they are less competent, confident and motivated to move.

After several months of homeschooling, most parents and children are eager to resume the 2022 school year in classrooms and ESSA hopes to see many children celebrating in playgrounds and parks and becoming assets.

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Richard V. Johnson