More physical education at school means not only better motor skills, but also better grades.
Kids are not getting enough physical activity at home or at school, but the results about the benefits of physical activity for kids just keep coming. Here’s a new one: more physical education at school means not only better motor skills, but also better grades. A recent Swedish study followed 220 students in grades one to three for nine years. The intervention group received scheduled physical education five days a week (as well as extra motor training). Results of diagnostic tests as well as motor skills such as balance and coordination were recorded. The study concluded that physical education sharpens kids’ motor skills and learning ability. According to the researchers, the differences between the intervention group and the control group were “significant”—especially among boys. Specifically, some of the study’s results were:
How much physical activity do kids need? Canadian guidelines state that:
However, according to Statistics Canada, less than 7 percent of Canadian children meet these recommendations. And even though schools have physical education classes, that’s not enough either. According to Active Healthy Kids Canada, most Canadian provinces don’t have mandatory physical education up until the end of high school, and “there are discrepancies between PE time mandated and PE time implemented in schools.” Get kids active! (And that doesn’t mean just ball sports.) Although team ball sports are great, there’s a lot more out there to explore: gymnastics, jump rope, skating, swimming … the list goes on! Here are two suggestions to discover. Yoga A recent study found that yoga can benefit teenagers’ well-being. Check out these kid-friendly yoga poses. Dancing Physical & Health Education Canada recommends dancing as a great physical activity for kids. Along with promoting a healthy weight and stronger lungs, heart, and muscles, it improves coordination, agility, balance, flexibility, spatial awareness, and confidence. For some exotic varieties, check out belly dancing or salsa.