Studies find physical activity increases brain health
By Colten Kamlade, Staff Reporter
An instructor from Douglas College was recruited by ParticipACTION to work on their biennial report.
According to their website, ParticipACTION was founded in 1971. It is a national non-profit organization that encourages physical activity for kids across Canada. Twice a year, they release a report card that awards letter grades in 14 different areas.
“The Report Card is the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada,” states the ParticipACTION website. “It synthesizes data from multiple sources, including the best available peer-reviewed research, to assign evidence-informed grades across 14 indicators. Over the years, the Report Card has been replicated in over 50 cities, provinces and countries, where it has served as a blueprint for collecting and sharing knowledge about the physical activity of young people around the world.”
According to the Douglas College website, Sarah Moore, an instructor in the therapeutic recreation department, was recruited by ParticipACTION because of her expertise in physical activity for children, including children with disabilities. A short animated video published by ParticipACTION and written and narrated by Sarah Moore summarizes some key points from the report.
“We found that children who are physically active have better performance in math, reading, science, and social studies,” Moore said. “These kids also have better attention, focus, and concentration. They are better creative thinkers, and better problem solvers. In fact, these active kids have even larger brains. Especially in the areas of the brain related to memory, higher level thinking, and emotion.”
According to the report, active kids are less likely to suffer from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. The video also discusses the benefits of physical activity for children with disabilities. According to the findings of the report, kids with disabilities may experience even greater gains from increased activity. Unfortunately, kids who have disabilities are generally less active because they face more barriers. Issues such as accessibility prevent them from participating to the same degree as other kids. Thus, it is important for teachers and parents to be as inclusive as possible.
“Inclusion and accessibility for kids with disabilities is really important. So, if you’re a parent, educator, healthcare provider, or coach, I want you to ask yourself, ‘how can I encourage a kid to get active for 60 minutes today and every day?'” Moore said.