Study: Exercise after school good for children’s attention span

01 October 2014

Parents, don’t stop your kids if they want to play outside or go to sports practice instead of doing homework after school. As it turns out, the exercise benefits their learning abilities too!

Researchers at the University of Illinois in the USA studied 221 children between seven and nine years old for nine months, and found that those who spent an hour after school engaging in moderate physical activity paid better attention, could avoid distraction more effectively and could alternate between tasks while maintaining their focus.

In contrast to these kids, those in the test group who did no exercise after school had zero to no improvement.

Here are fun ways to get your kids on the move:

- Exercise doesn’t always have to be a gruelling workout. Encourage your kids to play outside by introducing games such as “tag” and hide-and-seek.

- Set an example by getting active yourself. If your kids are used to Mom and Dad going for a run or going to the gym, they’ll be more prone to picking up these healthy habits themselves.

- Adjust their routines: If your kids are loath to get moving, you can restrict their TV or computer time.

- Encourage a love of nature: One of the best things about being active is getting to explore wonderful natural scenery. Take your kids to a local park, beach or hiking trail. Chances are they’ll be more likely to enjoy being active if it’s outside and in an engaging setting.

-Mieke Vlok

Sources: EurekAlert!

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