Photo Courtesy of Elisa (Thank you!)
We all know we should move more, and yet in the U.S. people spend an average of 7.4 hours a day in front of a screen. The numbers are even higher in other countries.
My son gets a very limited amount of video game time per day (30 min). The other day, I asked him to calculate the amount of time he spends playing video game in a whole year. His result was astonishing: a week per year. One whole week of sitting every year. This does not include the time he spends sitting in school, doing homework, eating, reading, commuting, or working on his fiction writing.
Human beings evolved to move. It’s scientifically proven to help with physical and mental health. The consequences of inertia range from obesity to mental illnesses, in kids and adults alike. Here are some ways that movement can benefit your brain and your body:
What Movement Does for Your Brain
- It increases oxygen to the brain
- It helps plasticity and neural connections
- It acts as a natural anti-depressant
- It’s a natural mood regulator
- It increases hormonal balance
- It helps your sensory and nervous system integrate
- It increases cognitive functions
- It increases functions associated with memory
- It increases our ability to focus and organize our thoughts
- It makes your white matter (connector for various areas of your brain) thicker and denser
- It helps regulate impulses
- It improves behavior
- It contributes to sleep regulation
What Movement Does for Your Body
- Increases motor-coordination
- Increases sense of balance
- Increases bone and muscle mass
- Increases flexibility
- Boost digestive processes, especially motility
- Improves the immune system
- Decreases fatigue
- Increases circulation and cardiac function
- Improves blood pressure
- Contributes to hormonal and blood sugar balance
- Improves postural control
I hope these facts help motivate you to incorporate more movement throughout your and your child’s day. Some schools are starting to incorporate movement breaks into their routine, such 10 minutes of physical activity for every 45 min of focussed seated work. In the workplace, standing desks and walking meetings are gaining support from progressive managers. The more we advocate for and apply changes to our daily activity levels, the healthier our children and our society will be.
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