I think it is pretty safe to say that everyone knows that regular physical activity is one of the most vital elements of a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle and that the foundations for a positive attitude towards exercise can be laid during the most dramatic period of human growth – Childhood.
With this in mind, I wanted to take a look at a number of key benefits of physical activity within childhood and why it is so important for our primary schools to promote regular, challenging exercise from an early age.
1. Reduced childhood obesity rates
Sometimes it can feel that not a single day passes by without some kind of mention in the media about the growing childhood obesity crisis in England, with the latest figures stating that around 23% of 4 & 5 year olds and 33% of 10 & 11 year olds are either overweight or obese.
According to a study published in the Obesity Reviews, research has shown that the our brains manage inhibitory control which regulates impulsive behaviour. The same study also found a potential link between neurocognitive functions relating to eating behaviours and exercise, meaning that there is strong evidence that physical activity in school has a positive influence on impulsive eating in actions.
2. Skill and motor skills development
By allowing children to engage in a wide range of different activities, they are able to learn new skills and improve their gross motor skills for tasks related to using large muscles such as legs & arms, as well as fine motor skills for movements involving smaller muscle groups such as those in the hand and wrist.
3. Teaches self-discipline
There is substantial research that shows sport and physical activity can act as an outlet for frustration and a source of focus for children and young adults.
The research also points out that setting goals within these activities are essential for a child to develop self-discipline, and when goals are achieved the children are able to see for themselves the cause and effect of voluntarily sticking with their efforts.
4. Influence leadership and cooperation with others
By allowing children to participate in team sports you can encourage them to learn to work together and provide a basis for them to understand the benefits of being able to work together.
Also, by working in teams, individuals will start to learn the importance of leadership to be able to get the best from any team.
5. Improved academic performance
While the more physical benefits of physical activity are much more clearly understood, there is now also a fair amount of research that shows a clear link between increased activity levels and improved academic performance.
A 2013 study carried out by the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee found that an extra 15 minutes of exercise a day could increase performance by an average of about a quarter of a grade, meaning it would be possible to improve by an entire grade by undertaking the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
How to improve your physical activity offerings?
With all of this incredible research showing the amazing benefits of physical activity amongst children, you may be wondering how you could take advantage and get more of your students engaged and excited by the prospect of PE.
At Sportsafe, we are experts in helping you find the best solutions to upgrade your sports and play facilities, whether you want to introduce new and exciting, all-weather sports with a MUGA (Multi Use Games Area), improve your indoor sports hall facilities or add a challenging trim-trail, we can help.
Check out our wide range of products and services by navigating our website, or get in touch by calling us on 0333 300 0032.