American kids are under tremendous pressure to perform well in school. Every year they’re required to take more and more standardized tests, and every year they fall further behind children around the world, particularly in science and mathematics.More is required to do well in school beyond sitting in the classroom and managing to stay awake throughout the day.
Kids by nature want to learn, but somehow this love of new knowledge and new experiences is sucked out of them early on. Many teachers no longer teach to broaden the skills and abilities of their students. Instead they teach to the standardized tests. There’s no longer much room for exploring new territory, and kids get bored easily and stay bored if they’re not challenged.
How can we help our children when the educational system does not provide the formula to engage many kids? Making sure our kids are healthy and well is a very good start. One of the most interesting developments in cognitive science (how people learn) in the last ten years is the importance of physical activity in relation to human performance. 1,2,3 The results are in – research proves that physical activity is highly correlated to learning and academic achievement. Active kids are explorers. Active kids are alert and interested in what’s going on around them. Active kids have an instinctive desire to grow and develop.
What kinds of exercise should our kids be doing? The great news is that the specific type of exercise doesn’t matter. It’s all good, whether a kid is playing soccer, running track, or riding around the neighborhood on her bike. It’s the amount of exercise that counts, not the format of the exercise. Federal agencies recommend that every child get an hour of physical activity each day. This hour can be broken up into small segments or done all at once. What matters is the amount and consistency of the exercise.
Chiropractic care can play a big role in a child’s development. Periodic chiropractic treatment can improve the functioning of a child’s musculoskeletal system, and thus help improve their physical performance. And, chiropractic care can help a child recover quickly from activity- and sports-related injuries.
By helping a child continue with fun, enjoyable, and rewarding physical activities, chiropractic care is also helping them improve their academic performance. The result is a much more well-rounded young person, one whose interests may extend from the ball field to the science lab to the music room.
1Hillman CH, et al: The effect of acute treadmill walking on cognitive control and academic achievement in preadolescent chiildren. Neuroscience 159(3):1044-1054, 2009
2Ploughman M: Exercise is brain food. The effects of physical activity on cognitive function. Dev Neurorehabil 11(3):236-240, 2008
3Davis CL, et al: Effects of aerobic exercise on overweight children’s cognitive functioning. Res Q Exerc Sport 78(5):510-519, 2007