Updated: Jul 26
We do many things to improve our thinking and enhance our education.
You might be spending many hours each day sitting and learning.
You might read books, attend webinars and lectures, participate in online and physical courses, read magazines, listen to TedTalks, watch YouTube videos, read research papers and have conversations with knowledgeable people.
These are beautiful ways to learn and grow. However, this process is missing the one secret ingredient to increase cognitive development, long-term memory and overall ability to process information.
Ready to read about this secret?
Are you sitting down?
I need you to get up and move around for this one if you do.
We are designed for moving
We are born to move around. Our bodies are designed for running, jumping, walking, climbing, waving our hands in the air, skipping over puddles and stomping our feet.
Therefore, moving around helps us think.
If you are one of these people who can’t sit still, you are probably jumping for joy now. Finally, you can say that your tendency to move around is an excellent advantage as it develops your brain.
And yes, science supports it as many research papers claim this is the case.
Brain research suggests that physical activity before learning (whether in the classroom at school or any other setting) and short breaks of physical activity during learning increase student’s ability to process and retain new material.
Physical movement also contributes to the overall cognitive development of the students because it sends oxygen, water, and glucose to the brain, helping it grow and improve mood and motivation.
There is also a strong link between physical activity and our memory. Different research papers suggest that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory are more significant in volume in people who exercise than in people who don't.
Not convinced yet? There is more!
And if this is not enough to convince you to get up from your comfortable sofa and move around, physical activity improves mood and sleep and reduces stress and anxiety. Improving our mental well-being and the quality of our resting time means we can better focus when learning new things, processing information or solving problems.
And if this is still not enough for motivation, I will add that performing physical activities is so much FUN!.
You might not like a particular type of activity, but I am sure you can find other physical activities you enjoy. There are many things to choose from – you can dance (as if no one is watching you), jump on a trampoline, play basketball or climb trees. (it’s fun at any age)
With the endless ways we have to move around and enjoy our bodies, I am sure you can find a few ways that bring a smile to your face.
It’s how children learn better
We now know that physically active children consistently outperform inactive children academically on both a short- and long-term basis.
The time spent in physical activity drives a healthier body and impacts cognitive development and lifelong brain health. Regular physical activity also enhances the ability to perform tasks that require working memory and problem-solving skills.
And if you want to know the impact being active has on the specific subjects children learn at school - a strong relationship has been found between physical activity and performance in math, reading, and English.
Therefore, asking children to sit down and learn for hours is counterproductive. We should do the opposite and provide children many opportunities to move around throughout the day.
So how can you increase your cognitive capabilities and your children/students’ academic performance?
I am sure you are aware of the many different types of sports you can do, so here are a few fun ideas on how to be active without the need for special equipment or space.
You can do it on your own or with children. Make sure you move around before you or your students/children start to study and as short breaks during the day –
Put on a song and dance. You can ask children to create dance moves for this song. (or you can be creative and choreograph your own moves!)
Use your body to create music. Use your hands, feet, and other body parts to create music. You can also find objects around you that can be used as musical instruments. (tap on a table or use an upside-down pot as a drum. Use your imagination to turn everyday objects into an orchestra)
Move like different animals. How would you move as an elephant? How would you move as a shark? How would you move as a monkey? (But if you choose to move like a sloth, don’t count it as your physical activity 😊 )
Want to learn more about how you could raise a child who is creative, innovative, and able to thrive in an ever-changing world?
If you do, "Think Unique" is the book for you.
Parents - Check out this book and read the reviews here.
Teachers - Check out this book and read the reviews here.
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