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Posted on 08-07-2012

Good morning everyone!

All of us want to give our kids all of the tools and information they need to succeed. But many times, it’s easy to forget that the key to learning is receiving and understanding information given to us. It’s not just about the environment or even academics, it’s also about making sure that a child is capable of learning in the moment they are given information.

Research shows that a more fit and healthy child is a better student. 

Your bodies are designed to move!
Over the last 70 years we have worked very hard to make our lives easier and more effective with technology. In doing so, we have removed a lot of movement out of our daily lives. For instance, many children no longer walk or ride their bicycles to school, and instead, they spend 35-40 hours a week watching television, playing video games, playing on a cell phone or sitting at a computer.

But getting physical activity throughout the day isn’t just about good health, it also affects your brain maintenance and development. Physical activity directly correlates to learning by stimulating the brain via joint and muscle nerve endings known as mechanoreceptors. When a child has been physically active, their brain receives and retains information better. Therefore, when there are fewer opportunities for physical activity throughout the day, a child’s ability to learn is impacted.

You don’t have to be a physical education professional to make an impact. Teachers can use activities during their class to avoid long periods of sitting. Parents can encourage family activities such as going for a walk to the park. Try to limit the time kids are sedentary and replace it with activities that encourage movement.

Eat to Live not Live to Eat
Many of today’s children are not getting the nutrients they need. Schools are facing tight budgets, often resulting in quick, unhealthy lunch options. Parents are busier than ever, making fast food an appealing dinner option. But only providing kids with unhealthy food options will affect more than their waistline, it will also affect their ability to learn.  Also watching portions is key to delivering the right amount of food.

We know that a child will learn better if they are well fed and are getting the nutrients they need. The benefits of taking the time to make a few healthier choices, to support that, both at home and in the school, is incredibly worthwhile.

A Health Formula
Here is a healthy formula to consider:  

8: Get plenty of sleep – aim for eight hours
6: Vegetables – eat two fruits and four vegetables per day
3: Get three low-fat protein servings per day (preferred NOT dairy)
2: Watch less than two hours of “screen time”
1: Get more than one hour of physical activity
0 Almost none: Cut out sugar-sweetened food and drinks

All of us have to partner together, whether it is in school, in our home or our community, to encourage kids to be less sedentary. And most importantly, give kids the tools they need to be successful.

Have a blessed day!

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