How Physical Activity Helps Children Do Better in School, Life
How Physical Activity Helps Children Do Better in School, Life

How Physical Activity Helps Children Do Better in School, Life

Experts say physical activity can help children with self-esteem and task management as well as provide an outlet for emotions.

Parents are encouraged to schedule exercise for children as if it’s a daily classroom assignment.

Physical activity in childhood can help youngsters develop their emotional and behavioral regulation skills, which play a crucial role in their academic achievement.

That’s according to new research from the United Kingdom that analyzed the Millennium Cohort Study, a longitudinal study of 4,043 children.

Parents and teachers completed questionnaires to measure the emotional and behavioral components of the children’s self-regulation skills at ages 7, 11, and 14. Children’s physical activity was measured by factors that included intensity, duration, and enjoyment.

For 7-year-olds, physical activity positively predicted emotional regulation skills, resulting in higher academic achievement throughout early primary school.

For 11-year-olds, physical activity was linked to behavioral regulation and positively affected academic achievement. After accounting for socioeconomic status, these associations were even more pronounced.

“Physical activity is linked to emotional regulation in early childhood and behavioral regulation in middle childhood,” the study authors wrote. “This relationship predicts academic attainment, suggesting that early and sustained physical activity is an important element in children’s development and schooling.”

The authors also highlighted the importance of ensuring children have access to forms of physical activity, particularly for children from lower socioeconomic settings who may lack the resources or opportunities to participate in organized physical activity.

Dr. Jake Kleinmahon , an American Heart Association volunteer expert and pediatric cardiology director of Pediatric Heart Transplant and Heart Failure at the Ochsner Hospital for Children in Louisiana, explained how physical activity helps children with emotional or behavioral regulation.

“Physical activity is well-known to improve rates of depression, anxiety, and emotional well-being in children,” he told Healthline. Mechanisms that can explain this, according to Kleinmahon, include: Children involved in sports learn time management, communication skills, and receive feedback from coaches. Physical activity allows children to express emotions through movement in a productive manner. Organized sports provide structure for children, teach teamwork, and allow children to feel belonging. Improving one’s physical fitness, training, or competing come with emotional challenges that children learn to work through. Natural endorphins are released during exercise, causing a feeling of well-being. “All of these skills help in the classroom and improve brain development,” said Kleinmahon. “Conversely, the inability to regulate emotions may hinder learning, lead to disruptive behavior, and may negatively impact their life.”

Team sports offer children the advantage of consistent schedules and physical activity, playing with peers, and furthering social skills. Nonetheless, all types of physical activity are beneficial.

“Generally, when children feel better and better about themselves, they have an easier time regulating their emotions,” said Kleinmahon.

Continue reading the rest at

Notify of
0 Discussions
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x