Everyone warns us that if we spend all our day sitting, be it at home or in the office, it is damaging to our health. Science has proved it, doctors warn us every day, our family does it too.
The question is, if we know this fact, why do we allow our kids to spend 6 or 8 hours sitting still in school?
Now, researchers warn that this school system possesses a series of serious problems, such as:
- By overprotecting our children and trying to keep them safe at all costs, we increase the danger of them getting serious health issues;
- The lack of physical activity makes children more unable to concentrate, which in turn results in reducing their academic growth;
- When children fail to perform in this low-energy schooling mode, we criticize them or even punish them for reacting the way they are supposed to react naturally.
Take for example the little boys.
Most boys are wildly boisterous. They are always moving, playing, running, fighting, jumping, and so on. They are often physically active.
In school, however, they are forced to sit still for 8 straight hours, and when they fail to do so or are not able to concentrate – we punish them by giving them extra homework, or asking them to take extra classes which paradoxically makes them more physically inactive and thus even more prone to underperform.
A research from the University of Eastern Finland has recently tried to find whether boys who were required to sit for long periods of time were less achieving because of the lack of physical activity.
The study included 153 kids, aged from 6 to 8. The researchers behind the study tracked their physical activity and the amount of time they spend sitting during the day. They found that the less physical activity the boys had, the harder it was for them to concentrate and better their reading skills.
This doesn’t apply to girls, however. Researchers find that this may be because girls are different psychologically from the boys in a way that a girl doesn’t need to move around as much as a boy needs. Plus, the lack of physical activity doesn’t result in a loss of concentration in girls.
And, it is not just about the lowering of the academic success in boys. In fact, scientists say that the physical inactivity can lead to serious consequences both physical and mental in children.
Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, interviewed small children and asked them what games do they play and what games they like to play. Some of them said that they aren’t allowed to play with certain toys because they were told that they are going to hurt themselves, which is frustrating to them.
With restricting children’s movement like that, they are more prone to experience anger and frustration which further leads to developing aggressive behavior and an inability to control their emotions.
“Elementary children need at least three hours of active free play a day to maintain good health and wellness. Currently, they are only getting a fraction,” Hanscom writes.
Moreover, the children with an ADHD diagnosis is rapidly increasing and the number is higher than ever. Why is that? For one thing, it is because the definition of ADHD has expanded. And, for another thing, the reason is that we restrict kids’ movement which results with them reacting the way nature intended them to.
Let’s face it – we don’t allow children to play outdoors as much as they did in the past. This may be because they now have more homework and more activities that they need to do that their free time for playing is reduced.
And this is a problem indeed which can lead to serious health and psychological issues in children as they grow up because they are not moving as much as they need to.
The first one would be to make an incentive for school teachers to start introducing more physical activity in their classes. Even though it is easier for teachers to control the class if they all were quietly sitting, this is in no way beneficial to them.
And, allowing kids to move around the classroom and be more physically active will result in less fidgety and more concentrated kids.
Mary Wright is a professional writer with more than 10 years of incessant practice. Her topics of interest gravitate around the fields of the human mind and the interpersonal relationships of people.If you have a general question or comment please fill out the form and we will get back to you as soon as possible https://curiousmindmagazine.com/contact-us/ .