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Fitness Psych – Total Gym Can Improve School Performance

Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.

The January issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reported an interesting and illuminating piece of research that has caught the attention of many of us concerned about the lack of exercise among America’s school age children.

Get this …

The ratio of children defined as “seriously overweight” has gone up to 1 in 3, tripling since the 1970s.

Children between the ages of 10-13, who are already obese, are likely to have a 70% chance of obesity persisting into their adult years.

It’s time to pay attention!

We can either ignore these hard facts OR curb childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, emotional disturbance, immunity issues, poor self-esteem and, according to the newest research, poor grades in school—but we can’t do both. 

Exercise could benefit children’s academic performance through increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain. It can also lower their stress levels, improve their mood and increase growth factors that support synaptic plasticity—just like exercise does for adults. In fact, like adults, children benefit from an hour each day of vigorous activity to derive maximal health and school-related benefits.

Allowing children to sit for long periods of time and overuse digital toys, in addition to parents focusing too much on competitive team sports and “winning,” coupled with negative comments about children’s activities, according to the American Council on Exercise, will be harmful to the physical well-being of our nation’s youth. And, according to the latest research, promotes poor academic performance.

“…we [have] found strong evidence of a significant positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance. The findings of one high-quality intervention study and one high-quality observational study suggest that being more physically active is positively related to improved academic performance in children, ages 6-18.” – this according to the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine report.

Here’s where the Total Gym becomes a true family exercise center.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends age-appropriate exercises that your child enjoys, including cardiovascular, strength training and bone strengthening activities. These can all be safely and easily accomplished on the very same equipment moms and dads enjoy at home or at the gym—the Total Gym!

Specific Total Gym full body exercises are available for youngsters here.

Like adults, children can safely work to their comfort level on squats, calf raises, front pullovers, lying triceps extensions, chest presses, bicep curls, push ups, pull ups and many more exercises.

Committing to provide your children with aerobic activity, muscle and bone strengthening activity, while helping to promote academic performance, is a true “win.” Of course, parental supervision is always required when children are enjoying the Total Gym.

Explain to your children the value of exercise to their health and yours. Be sure your children see you enjoying the Total Gym and create a “buddy system” approach to exercise. You can also encourage your children to bring a friend, with that child’s parental permission, to create a group activity. Make it fun … perhaps even establish a family “fitness night” each week complete with healthy nutrition and rewards.

The best exercises for children are the ones they will do. Making it playful on the Total Gym makes it very inviting for children and motivates youngsters to continue to meet their fitness needs.

Follow Dr. Mantell on Twitter @FitnessPsych

Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D., earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania after completing his M.S. degree in clinical psychology at Hahnemnann Medical College where he wrote his thesis on the psychological aspects of obesity. He coaches world-class athletes and fitness enthusaists for performance enhancement. He is Senior Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for ACE, on the faculty of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, a national Community Ambassador for Experience Life Magazine’s health initiative and for FitFluentials, appears weekly on San Diego’s CW channel 6, is a consultant to Les Mills International, writes for IHRSA, is a member of the Sports Medicine Team at the Sporting Club of San Diego and the La Jolla Sports Club specializing in fitness psychology, writes the “San Diego Fitness Psychology” column and “San Diego Life Coach Examiner.” He is also a writer and consultant to the Total Gym company. Dr. Mantell has written two best-selling books and appears regularly on radio and TV.

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