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Physical Activities and Cognitive Development in Children

Childhood plays a key role in human life because it acts as a window when the rapid motor and cognitive development occurs. Although now many published studies have examined the effectiveness of physical activities on motor skills and cognitive development, the few available have demonstrated a reliable positive relationship in children. The main areas of cognitive development researchers focus on when assessing the relationship between physical activity and cognitive development in children include, language learning, academic achievement, attention, and working memory. This article, therefore, will give detailed overviews of the effects of physical activities on cognitive development in children with a focus on attention, thinking, language, and memory.

Looking at attention, cross-sectional studies have indicated that children who participate in regular moderate-intensity activities have more focused attention, calm and controlled in class which is evident in the class activities that last more than 3 hours when the processes that require attention start to deteriorate, it has also been noted that children who do some sports such as karate function better compared to those who spend most of their time on passive activities.

The thinking process of children have been reported to improve for children who participate in regular physical activities especially organized sports such as football and karate, some cross-sectional studies have demonstrated that children who participated in football for more than six months have highly developed planning skills, unlike their sedentary peers.

In the case of language development and physical activities, independent studies have demonstrated the positive influence of physical activities and development of speech, some studies have highlighted the impacts of engaging in sports on the development of a comprehensive understanding of the meaning of words and greater ability to detect syntax errors in children who engage in physical activities, this has contributed to some researchers associating good grades with participation in sports.

It is important to note that scientists have identified a positive correlation between physical activities, learning, and memory in children, this is so because engaging in regular physical activities such as karate or football promotes the growth of greater basal ganglia and hippocampus capacities the areas that are associated with cognitive control and memory, some studies have found that children between age 3-5 years with improved physical activities have great cognitive functions especially in the area of working memory. Those are some effects of physical activities on children cognitive development process.

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