News | Published June 24, 2014

Physical activity: Fitness for the brain

As a parent, I know it can be hard to keep kids physically active once the school year ends. Easy access to TV, computers or tablets and video games can lead to hours spent in front of a screen.

Although it can be difficult, studies have shown a link between physical fitness and academic achievement. Most recently, research from professors at the University of Illinois suggests that children who are more physically fit have better language skills and faster electrical brain responses during reading than less-fit children.

It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that children get at least 60 minutes of play daily. The following tips are ways to help keep your child active this summer:

  • Get your kids involved in summer camps or local recreational activities. Allow them to choose what interests them.
  • Make it a family affair! Go for a walk or play a team sport in the backyard after dinner.
  • Set a time limit for electronics of only one to two hours.
  • Sign your child up for swimming lessons or for a membership at the community pool.
  • Martial arts classes are a great way to keep your child fit physically and mentally.
  • Organize play groups with friends.
  • Provide the right equipment. It’s hard to play basketball without a basketball hoop – make sure your kids have access to any necessary equipment they may need.
  • Make a to-do list – believe it or not, chores are a great way to burn some calories. Make a list of age-friendly chores like walking the dog or running the vacuum.
  • Create scavenger hunts that can be completed as a family or with friends.
  • Lead by example! Children learn from what they see – if they see you living an active lifestyle, they are more likely to join in.

Remember to stay hydrated and have fun! Staying active will keep your kids and their brains healthy this summer.