I read a great blog entry today on the Great Schools blog called, “Are your kids failing their fitness tests?” We place so much emphasis on how kids are doing in class and on programs that help with school and learning, but we often overlook fitness.
If you think kids are getting their exercise in gym class, think again. Many school budget cuts have removed Physical Education classes and teachers from the daily regimen. That means the 30 minutes or so a day kids used to get have been wiped out by budget cuts.
I hear many people saying, “Oh well. it’s only PE. At least they’re not cutting Math or Reading.” Could this line of thinking be any more wrong?
Kids need the aerobic exercise for many reasons, the most popular being to combat childhood obesity. That one’s a no-brainer.
But what’s more important, and too many times overlooked, is that physical exercise is amazing for the brain. Balance, coordination, and blood pumping to the brain are all key ingredients for a healthy and functioning brain. Daily exercise is now being looked at as a possible solution, or at least delay, for many diseases such as Parkinson and Alzheimer’s.
For kids with learning disabilities, exercise is a key component for opening neural pathways in the brain that can stimulate learning. Many learning center programs are based on balance and coordination training, not just computer games.
Do your kids a favor and make them put the computer to sleep or turn off the TV and have them play outside for an hour a day. It will help in more ways than you think.