For the past 3 days I have been attending the Pilates for Children course. During the course I have learnt many interesting facts, but what really struck me is how early movement, even as early as being in the womb, can have a direct impact on our brain development. The below quote says it all:
“Movement activates the neural wiring throughout the body, making the whole body an instrument of learning”
(Hannaford, 1995, Smart Moves; Why learning is not all in our heads)
Unfortunately today’s society is leading us towards increasing exposure to “screen time”, resulting in a more sedentary life style with less time available for physical activities and outdoor pursuits. It doesn’t help that children these days have the the freedom of playing in the streets. Unfortunately due to the changes in our lifestyle and advances in technology the need for us to be active is gradually being reduced.
There are many potential benefits for children of living an active lifestyle (especially as they grow), apart from the obvious one of physical health; two very important considerations are motor development skills and self esteem. Participation in physical activities can promote a long term active and healthy lifestyle, enhance social interaction, improve confidence, help with weight management, aid neuromuscular control and have a positive impact on academic performance.
The busy life of a child and the changes they are going through both in mind and body can be a very stressful time, and they are not always equipped with the tools to manage this stress. Evidence has also shown that regular physical activity can help with stress and anxiety, as well as improve concentration and focus.
Great reasons, on top of the many others, why we should get our kids out running, climbing and exploring the great outdoors.