Moving is SMART!

06 June, 2018

Neglected Benefits of Physical Activity There is increasing talk about the benefits of physical activity and its importance in ensuring optimal development and maintenance of good health as we age. Several school-based initiatives have also emerged to encourage students and their families to move more and eat better to create healthy lifestyle habits. However, the emphasis is often placed on the positive impact of activity on our appearance. On the other hand, we tend to overlook the many other benefits of regular exercise. Nevertheless, physical activity has a positive impact on the different spheres of development: intellectual and cognitive, emotional, social and physical. Intellectual and cognitive sphere Sport activates the blood flow and allows a better oxygenation of the brain cells, thus facilitating learning by improving the ability to concentrate and working memory. It is therefore advantageous to set aside a short time to move before rushing to perform a task that requires sustained attention. This is especially true for children coming home from school. In addition, activating the body prevents daily stress and anxiety significantly, by reducing symptoms of physical discomfort such as muscle tension, headaches, extreme fatigue, etc. If your children tend to experience anxiety, you have all the more reason to give them a little more free time before homework! This natural phenomenon that is produced during physical activity also reduces the risk of suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and/or allows you to maintain the current state for as long as possible. In the same vein, serotonin secreted during physical exercise helps to prevent and fight depression by restricting the negative and automatic thoughts that are normally generated by the prefrontal cortex (front part of the brain). Emotional Sphere Exercise also increases self-esteem and self-confidence by setting goals that allow us to surpass ourselves. A little trick to help your children set achievable targets to avoid the opposite effect, rely on the acronym S.M.A.R.T. The goal should be : S: Simple and specific, focused on desired development. M: Measurable and easily quantifiable and/or have observable progress. A: Achievable according to current potential and capacity. R: Realistic. T: Temporal. Having a predefined period of time with a beginning and an end. For their part, team sports offer a sense of attachment and belonging to the members who make it up. Children can learn about team spirit, trust in others, and use the encouragement and support of their peers to help them understand the value that each individual brings to the team. Social Sphere With so many endorphins (pleasure hormones) following a "match", a weekly class or a one-off activity, how can you resist the good mood of others? In addition to getting us moving, physical activity in small or large groups allows us to socialize with people who have a common interest with us. This simplifies the approach for children who are more shy or a little clumsy. Physical Sphere And finally, we couldn't ignore the physical sphere. Continuous activity practiced 4 to 8 hours before bedtime helps prevent insomnia and promotes restful sleep. In addition, by dint of perseverance, exercise increases our strength and endurance to make other activities less demanding and eventually allow us to diversify and multiply our sources of pleasure through physical activity. Still not convinced of the benefits of physical activity? Go run or play for 15 minutes with your children and come back to me afterwards!