Babyology Nutritional Bite – the surprising link between exercise and IQ in children

What does exercise have to do with your children’s IQ? According to recent health studies, a lot! Thirty minutes of physical exercise a day could boost your children’s IQ level and even improve their school results.

This may seem hard to believe – how does physical exercise relate to your child’s ability to learn? This week on Babyology’s Nutritional Bite, we have our resident expert nutritionist and mum, Michele Chevalley Hedge, on hand to help explains things.

Michele, a Jamie Olive Food Revolution ambassador and founder of the My Family Wellness Low Sugar Lifestyle program, has done the research for us and rounded up the facts. And they may surprise you!

“There are over 100 studies in the Journal of Applied Physiology that reveal that both aerobic and resistance training help maintain cognitive function as we age,” Michele tells Babyology.

Regular exercise can boost your intelligence and mental acuity, starting at a young age. Primary school students who exercise for around 40 minutes per day have increased their IQ score by an average of four points. Year six students who are fit score around 30 per cent higher than average students, and less fit students around 20 per cent below the average. There have even been studies done that show exercising before an exam may improve test scores by up to 17 per cent.

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Exercise gets your blood flowing, your heart pumping, your endorphins running, and, apparently, your brain thinking. So how do we get our kids hooked on exercise? Michele suggests starting with these bite-sized tips:

Get the whole family involved

Health guides recommend that adults should get 30 minutes of physical exercise every day so you might as well get the kids involved in your regular exercise regime. Start every weekend off with a family walk, hike or bike ride. During the weeks, walk to school (or part of the way) one or two times a week and gradually move up from there.

Give them a choice

Allow your children to choose a sport that appeals to them so they are inclined to do it naturally. The tip is to get them interested early and keep it fun. Gym, dance, netball, rugby, cricket, swimming – it doesn’t matter – as long as your child is moving and not inside a stuffy room with no air and light.

Pair exercise with a healthy diet

You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. Too many adults and children will consume sugar laden smoothies, yogurt parfaits, sugar loaded sport drinks or soft drinks after sport. This is sabotaging the exercise benefits of a healthy mind and body. Take a morning stroll with the family and top the day off with these fish burritos.

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Lead by example

Your kids look up to you and will follow your lead. Making regular exercise part of your routine starts with you. Check out the Low Sugar Lifestyle program, a 28-day online program full of snacks, meal ideas and healthy tips and education on serving up the best for your family, one nutritional bite at a time.

Stay tuned for next week’s Nutritional Bite when we will have another batch of healthy hints to dish up.

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