Children and adolescents spend an average of 6 and 8 hours per day, respectively, in sedentary behaviors, both during and outside of school. This sedentary time is increasing in children in recent years most likely due to a dramatic increase in screen time and increased academic rigor in the classrooms. Research indicates that physical activity influences brain power.
Here is some evidence based research on how exercise impacts brain power:
- Exercise enhances neurogenesis which is the the creation of new brain cells in regions of the brain associated with higher-order thinking and recall.
- Exercise boosts the formation of synaptic connections between neurons in response to learning and sensory input from the environment.
- Physical activity appears to stimulate the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps neurons and synapses grow.
- Exercise assists with the creation and maintenance of healthy blood vessels to increase blood and oxygen flow to enhance brain functioning.
- Physical activity helps create a positive mood. This in turn releases neurochemicals such as endorphins, melatonin, and serotonin, increasing neural activation in parts of the brain associated with positive emotions and increased attention and focus.
Reference: Marcus Conyers and Donna Wilson. Smart moves: Powering up the brain with physical activity. Phi Delta Kappan May 2015 96: 38-42, doi:10.1177/0031721715583961
50 Sensory Motor Activities for Kids – this download of creative, fun filled activities promote fundamental motor skills, sensory processing, motor planning and body awareness. The book is divided into three sections – Games to Play in Small Spaces (classroom or small room), Games to Play in Large Spaces (gymnasium or outdoors) and Games to Play with Bean Bags. The activities require simple equipment such as bean bags, hoops, rope, balls, etc. Find out more information.