Americans are not active enough. I don’t expect any pushback on that statement. Childhood and adult obesity have been in the headlines for quite some time. More exercise and a healthier diet are things most of us strive for.
Something many people might not realize is how important physical activity is for learning. Yes, physical activity can lead to improvements in reading and writing. A recent article I read describes a study in Finland that linked sedentary behaviors in 1st grade to fewer gains in reading in the 2nd and 3rd grade. (See: Boys Who Sit Still Have a Harder Time Learning to Read) Physical activity is important for all children, and it seems that boys benefit even more from such activity.
Much research supports the findings of this study. A Fit Body Means a Fit Mind details how some schools found increased gains with students struggling in language arts and math when those students were given PE immediately before their study sessions. Exercise before standardized tests also seem to correlate with better results.
In addition to academic gains, exercise can also lead to a happier life. Exercise lowers anxiety, reduces stress, and decreases your odds of getting sick. (Check out Being Active: The Facts for more benefits of exercise.) With all these benefits, remember to build regular exercise into your children’s schedule. Also, remember to teach by example. By showing your kids that exercise is important to you, they are much more likely to adopt exercise as part of their healthy lifestyle.
If the winter weather is making it more difficult for the kids to get out and play, consider the home school open gym Tuesdays from 12 till 2.