A study published in Pediatrics (the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) has shown that if school kids don’t move around enough it could affect their brains as well as their waistlines. According to kinesiology professor at the University of Illinois, Charles Hillman, “if you consider the anthropology of humankind, we were designed to move.”
Hillman’s study showed that kids aged between 7 and 9 who ran around for at least 70 minutes a day, had improved thinking skills (especially when it came to multitasking) than those who didn’t. There were two types of data used: one, when kids were engaged in activities and the other, a brain scan.
Another study took this theory even further. Researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) found that kids with autism are less likely to move around than their non-autistic peers. In this study it was found that they spent 50 minutes less a day engaged in moderate physical activity, with 70 minutes more each day of sitting. What was positive about this study was the finding that kids with and without autism had similar fitness abilities in all areas except for strength. It seems that the kids with autism just need to be given similar opportunities such as adaptive physical education programs. As Megan MacDonald, assistant professor at OSU said, “anything we can do to help encourage children with autism to be more active is beneficial.”
So because historically we move less these days – largely due to lack of need – it is important to find modern ways of integrating exercise into our daily lives. And there is no better way to start this than with education and children.