Thursday, August 17, 2006

Kids Need Vigorous Exercise

I found this article to be very interesting on the effects of exercise on
children and their ability to perform in school.

"Middle school students who perform more vigorous physical activity than
their more sedentary piers tend to do better in school, according to a new
study done by researchers from Michigan State University and Grand Valley
State University. The research is published in the August issue of Medicine
& Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College
of Sports Medicine.

For one academic year, the study tracked more than 200 sixth graders. For
one semester half of the students took the general physical education class
offered by the school, while the other half took part in a non-physical
education course. Halfway through the school year they switched. The
researchers found that students taking the physical education course did no
better or worse in their academic classes.

"Physical education and activity during the school day reduce boredom and
help keep kid's attention in the classroom," said Dawn Podulka Coe, the
study's lead author who is now an assistant professor in the Department of
Movement Science at Grand Valley State University. "We were expecting to
find that students enrolled in PE would have better grades because of the
opportunity to be active during the school day. But enrollment in PE alone
did not influence grades."

However, the researchers also found that students who took part in more
vigorous physical activities ( such as organized sports like soccer or
football, or non-organized after-school activities such as skateboarding)
did approximately 10 percent better in core classes such as math, science,
English and social studies.

"The students who performed better academically in this study were the most
active, meaning those who participated in a sport or other vigorous activity
at least three times a week." added Coe.

The difference between vigorous activity and moderate activity is heart
rate. Moderate activities, such as walking or raking leaves, don't get the
heart rate up or make the person breathe harder. Vigorous activities, such
as running or swimming for exercise, increase heart rate, causing the
exerciser to breathe harder and increasing oxygen to the brain."

With school just beginning, have your children really run, even if it is
just around the yard. Bring your girls to Fitness Spa for a great cardio
workout, or have personal training with me. It is so easy to spend the
effort on being fit for school and life! Give your children a great chance
to do well and feel confident.