Physical activity is an essential element of effective early learning programs. Educators don’t push young children to be athletes. Also, they include fun physical activities in their learning and play curriculums. By encouraging physical activities in early learning environments, young children develop health and fitness norms. Fitness habits support brain development, early education, healthy lifestyles, and lifelong physical fitness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stresses the need for physical activities at all ages. Childhood weight is one of their significant considerations, of course. The CDC also acknowledges physical activity for its educational benefits. CDC and other organizations documented numerous instances that confirmed links between school, physical fitness, and academic performance.
- In reviewing 50 independent studies, the CDC found that brief physical activity in a classroom affects cognitive skills such as aptitude, attention, and memory. It improved mood, academic behaviors, and literacy.
- The CDC also confirmed that elementary children have higher achievements when they participate in recess. Eight studies found a connection between recess and increased cognitive and academic behaviors.
- They documented how young children develop motor skills by participating in free play, running and chasing games, and other childhood activities.
- The publication “Educating the Student Body” looks at the role physical education plays at all ages. They used neuroimaging studies to confirm early brain development. They also documented physical changes in the brain in response to physical activity.
Early Physical Activity Helps Develop Lifelong Habits
ShapeofAmerica.Org promotes physical activity because it benefits people of all ages. The organization includes self-management, motor skills, learning, and educating the whole child on its list of the “Top 10 Reasons for Quality Physical Education.”
1. Helps prevent disease
2. Promotes lifetime wellness
3. Helps fight obesity
4. Helps promote lifelong physical fitness
5. Provides possibilities for unique activities
6. Teaches self-management and motor skills
7. Promotes learning
8. Economic impact: inactivity and poor diet are two major causes of death
9. It’s part of a system that educates the whole child
During the same timeframe that schools cut physical activities and organized sports, childhood obesity increased in children ages 2 to 19. Physical education in an early learning environment encourages students to develop active lifestyles. Children can make movement a habit before reaching schools that no longer encourage physical activity. The bonus: they create a healthy body and a healthy mind.