Can exercise help a child’s motivation, concentration and communication skills?

Well, firstly, what are the benefits of exercise? Exercise releases adrenaline into the blood stream which has a metabolic effect on the human body, this means it increases blood pressure and blood flow and raises heart rate. The basic advantage of this is that blood circulates the body at a faster rate, providing the working muscles and the brain with oxygen and nutrients. So that’s good for everyone!

An increase in oxygen supply to the brain can help decrease stress and anxiety, which as most parents will tell you are two common complaints they have about their children. In addition bouts of physical exercise can help a child to concentrate, again this is due to an increase in blood flow and oxygen.

The stress hormone cortisol is released into the bloodstream during periods of stress, we’re mainly talking about exams and homework, but of course the stressor could be family life, school, friends, teachers and so on.

High levels of cortisol can have detrimental effects on the body, it suppresses the immune system, decreases bone formation and can even inhibit memory retrieval and storage. Exercise helps to reduce cortisol levels in to blood stream.

Research and studies into this area are increasing, they suggest that exercise can help build confidence in dyslexic students. Other studies suggest that there is a strong relationship between physical activity and classroom performance, i.e the more time a child spends exercising the more likely they are to achieve good marks. Huffington post article on this subject

So the general consensus is that exercise (and a change is diet) should boost academic performance in children.