When you think of fitness centers or yoga studios, the image of adults likely pops into your head. Staying fit and in good shape becomes even more crucial as we get older, but what about fitness for children? While we may not picture them putting in time at the local gym, a number of scientific studies have revealed the benefits of physical activity in kids.
Compared with the couch potatoes, the aerobically-challenged mice showed dramatic brain growth.
Specifically, the hippocampus—-a brain region associated with learning and memory–was twice as large.
In addition, the brain cells of the aerobic mouse could sustain longer bouts of “long-term potentiation,” the increased efficiency of communication between neurons that occurs after neurons fire.
Better learning, too
Did these changes translate into better learning? Indeed they did. Mice who exercised performed better on a spatial learning task (finding their way through a water maze).
A similar study by HealthDay News found similar results.
“Our work suggests that aerobically fit and physically fit children have improved brain health and superior cognitive [thinking] skills than their less-fit peers,” study author Laura Chaddock-Heyman, a postdoctoral researcher with the department of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told WebMD.
“Hopefully, these findings will reinforce the importance of aerobic fitness during development and lead to additional physical activity opportunities in and out of the school environment.”
Aside from medical studies, we asked some of our professional staff members for their thoughts on children hitting the gym and what parents should know.
“Sure they can, but only if they are supervised and taught safe body mechanics. Parents should sign a waiver.” – Priscilla Rodriguez, Yoga Instructor
“Kids can work out at the gym depending on their age. Otherwise there are kid base classes for kids called Mindful Monkey and Empower Youth. Parents should lead by example and workout along side their kids. If they can stand there and watch then they can workout too if they have that much time.” – Jose Barrera, Jack of All Trades
“This is a topic I can say enough about kids should absolutely be at the gym. The focus should not be weight or body image and definitely don’t picture kids at the squat rack but think functional movement and strength through body weight exercises. As a mother I encourage my children to train for their sport – you need strength and flexibility to excel at your sport. I have recently found that my teen daughter really enjoys coming in and boxing – it made me realize how much stress they have in their lives and just like us they need somewhere to release that stress.” – Miwa Gardi, Founder and Yoga Instructor
If you’re a parent looking to get your little one more active, The Endorphin Effect has you covered! We offer a comprehensive youth program unlike any other.
The children are our future and at The Endorphin Effect, we believe in starting positive habits early. Let’s teach them to:
- Create these endorphins in a positive manner & increase their confidence
- Harness the hormone through mindfulness allowing them to respect not just others but themselves and their environment
- Educate them to utilize the effect they’ve created to go out and follow their dreams
MUSCLE MONKEYS: A strength and conditioning class for kids ages 8-13 designed to provide a safe and active alternative to a sedentary lifestyle. This class combines fitness with fun to build a strong foundation to athleticism. Workouts will always be different and scaled so that everyone will be engaged in participation.
MINDFUL YOUTH: A non-heated yoga class for kids ages 8-13 designed to increase flexibility, strength, and mental focus. This class will provide tools to combat the daily pressures that children in today’s day and age encounter.
SPORTS PERFORMANCE TRAINING: This complete training series is designed to improve the athlete’s decision making, performance and athleticism. The program will ensure that your athlete is thoroughly prepared to compete and excel in their sport.