The health benefits of physical activity go without saying, and research continues to show that even small amounts can help. For African-American children, the impact is even more pronounced, according to researchers at Furman University, in Greenville, SC who found that exercise can also help sharpen a child's cognitive ability.
In their study, published in the Journal Of Physical Activity & Health last month, elementary and middle school children who participated in 45 minutes of daily physical education were shown to have significantly greater improvements on cognitive tests than children who did not participate. The kids who exercised more also outperformed their peers on fitness and body composition tests.
A similar study from Mathematica Policy Research and the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University, found that students who engaged in recess programs called Playworks were not only less likely to bully their peers but took 27 percent less time to transition from recess to classroom learning than those who didn't participate. In addition, just last week, researchers from The University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga and some 16 countries around the world reported more than 5.3 million deaths might be avoided each year if all inactive people began exercising.
But although the case for physical activity is mounting, not everyone is following through. A recent study of American physical education policy revealed that just six states are holding firm to the National Association of Sport and Physical Education’s recommended two and a half hours per week of phys ed in elementary school, HuffPost Parents reports.
What activities can you do as a family to stay fit?