How Exercise Develops Young Brains and Promotes Family Bonding

Happy New Year! With the busy holiday season behind us and a few more months of winter ahead of us, January can feel like one of the longest months of the year. Many studies show that January can be the month when many of us feel down, unproductive or downright sleepy. Even our little ones can experience these winter blues! 

To help boost your mood, energy levels and grow those little brains, January is the perfect time to incorporate a little extra movement into your routine. Keep reading to hear more about the importance of movement for young brains, especially during these winter months!

What Are The Benefits?

In an article, WebMD explains that physical activity “boosts blood flow all over the body, including to the brain.” With this increased blood flow, developing brain cells get better at connecting with each other. But what does this mean for your child’s development?

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), children ages 6 to 17 should be getting one hour of exercise a day for optimal brain development. These sixty minutes can be split up through different activities throughout the day, and includes all activities (not just organized sports or traditional cardiovascular activity!)

Some benefits of movement for all of our brains, especially little developing brains, include:

  • Better cognitive thinking skills (including problem-solving things!)
  • More confidence
  • Better moods and mood regulation
  • Better sleep

All this, in addition to the physical benefits! For more information on how food impacts your child’s brain, check out our recent blog post, Getting Ready for School With Brain Food

Exercise For Little (And Big!) Brains

Since exercise can benefit all of our brains (big and small!), we love making movement a family affair to increase the fun. Some of our favorite ways to incorporate exercise throughout the day include:

  • Making games out of daily chores to increase the movement potential (creating silly dances while cleaning, playing active games etc.)
  • Stretching in the morning to get ready for the day ahead
  • Dancing, acting silly or playing games in the afternoon to break up the busy day, release tension and fight off the afternoon slump
  • Practicing mindfulness, yoga or stretching in the evening to wind down from the day and get ready for bedtime

Create Bonding Moments Through Playful Touch

When someone says ‘movement,’ many parents might think of traditional forms of exercise such as organized sports, running, outdoor activities. But did you know that little moments of playful touch can also have profound effects on your child’s brain development? 

Family activities such as movement-based games, tickling, wrestling, and laughing can all have brain development benefits - all while strengthening the bond between you and your child. This type of movement even helps calm some kids down and makes for an easier transition between different activities in your daily routine. 

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