Scientific studies show that exercise improves children’s brain development. The brain of children grows steadily throughout their childhood. The blood flow provides oxygen which is needed to turn nutrition consisting of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide, water and energy. This process is called aerobic respiration. The way blood flows to the brain in a child changes while the child grows up. When a child’s aerobic fitness improves the cognitive functions of the child improves. Studies show clearly that exercise, running, swimming, walking, jumping is a wonderful way to support the changing needs as the structure of the brain develops and the blood flow’s needs change.
Another way exercise improves a child’s life throughout its life, is that the aerobic fitness improves the way the hippocampus works. This small organ in the medial part of the brain helps us with spatial understanding. It allows us to identify where we are located, it helps us to recognize other people, and it helps to pay attention when other people are present. This makes us less clumsy and helps us to navigate our world. The hippocampus is associated with memory, in particular long-term memory. The hippocampus regulates the emotional part of the brain the limbic brain that regulates if we are happy, concerned, angry, bored, delighted, etc. Exercise improves and maintains the health of the hippocampus.
Exercise grows the brains ability to think and feel, it helps memory, and it infuses learning with emotions which promotes long term memory.
Additional benefits from exercise is that it detoxes the body from wastes by improving digestion, it improves muscle mass and agility, it strengthens the heart and lungs. Exercise fends off obesity, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise helps the child grow healthy, in body, spirit and mind.
The higher levels of aerobic fitness are also associated with improved hippocampal perfusion and cognitive function in children (Chaddock-Heyman et al., 2016; Moore et al., 2013). As the child’s brain undergoes progressive structural and functional development, alterations to cerebral haemodynamics support these changing needs (Tortori-Donati & Rossi, 2005; Biagi et al. 2007; Labarthe et al. 2009; Hales et al. 2014). Previous work demonstrates that grey matter and white matter CBF is highest during the first two decades of life peaking around 6-10 years of age (Leung et al., 2016; see figure 1.4). For the full study visit: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0360750
Excerpt taken from:
EFFECTS OF EXERCISE INTENSITY ON ANTERIOR CEREBRAL PERFUSION IN PREPUBERTAL CHILDREN. by Ryan Simair B.H.K., The University of British Columbia, 2015 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE in THE COLLEGE OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Interdisciplinary Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Okanagan) November 2017 © Ryan Simair, 2017ii
Hippocampal volume increase in response to aerobic exercise has been consistently observed in animal models. However, the evidence from human studies is equivocal. We undertook a systematic review to identify all controlled trials examining the effect of aerobic exercise on the hippocampal volumes in humans, and applied meta-analytic techniques to determine if aerobic exercise resulted in volumetric increases. We also sought to establish how volume changes differed in relation to unilateral measures of left/right hippocampal volume, and across the lifespan. A systematic search identified 4398 articles, of which 14 were eligible for inclusion in the primary analysis. A random-effects meta-analysis showed no significant effect of aerobic exercise on total hippocampal volume across the 737 participants. However, aerobic exercise had significant positive effects on left hippocampal volume in comparison to control conditions. Post-hoc analyses indicated effects were driven through exercise preventing the volumetric decreases which occur over time. These results provide meta-analytic evidence for exercise-induced volumetric retention in the left hippocampus. Aerobic exercise interventions may be useful for preventing age-related hippocampal deterioration and maintaining neuronal health. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811917309138