How Physical Activity Improves Brain and Cognitive Functions
We know that physical activity has great health benefits for our children. But did you know that children who are more physically active have better academic performance, memory, and attention? It’s true! They are more focused, stay on task, have better recall and short term memory (1).
However, being physically active means more than just “running around” and “playing outside.” Yes, running, jumping and swimming often called cardio-respiratory activities or "cardio" are important for the heart. However, activities that focus on perceptual motor development and fundamental movement skills are also important. While, both cardio and motor skill activities improve overall brain function, they activate children's brains differently so we need each of these to plan and make decisions from simple to most complex (2). Physical activity can affect how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention (3).