Why do we persist when the evidence that lecture alone does not cut it is so strong Dolcourt, ; Slavin, ? The reason for the dissonance between what we know and what we do may be traced back a hundred years.
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This study synthesized literature concerning casual evidence of effects of various physical activity programs on motor skills and cognitive development in typically developed preschool children. Electronic databases were searched through July Peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials RCTs examining the effectiveness of physical activity on motor skills and cognitive development in healthy young children 4—6 years were screened.
A total of 15 RCTs were included. Notably, one indicated no significant improvements were observed after the intervention.
Findings support causal evidence of effects of physical activity on both motor skills and cognitive development in preschool children. Given the shortage of available studies, future research with large representative samples is warranted to explore the relationships between physical activity and cognitive domains as well as strengthen and confirm the dose-response evidence in early childhood.
Contemporary health organizations propose that higher levels of physical activity in school-aged children are associated with important short- and long-term health benefits in physical, emotional, social, and cognitive domains across the life span [ 2 — 4 ].
As such, it is vital to integrate physical activity into the lives of children and set the foundation in facilitating and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle throughout adulthood [ 5 ]. It has been reported that more than 41 million young children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese inworldwide [ 6 ].
The health implications of physical activity Relations of physical activity and brain development early childhood cannot be disregarded; therefore, it is warranted to investigate the relationships between physical activity and health outcomes and cognition in early ages.
Although early childhood represents a critical period to promote physical activity, the long-term health benefits of being physically active from early ages have yet to be confirmed [ 7 ]. It is suggested that promoting physical activity in early childhood may help develop motor skills [ 8 ].
This postulation is echoed by evidence showing a reciprocal relationship, albeit cross-sectionally, between physical activity and motor development [ 9 — 12 ]. In fact, motor skills in young children are considered to be linked with various health outcomes such as adiposity [ 13 ], self-esteem [ 14 ], cardiorespiratory fitness [ 15 ], and cognition [ 16 ], among others.
As studies examining the effects of physical activity on motor skills continue to increase in frequency, a more recent and thorough review is needed. Although a review study on the topic is available from [ 17 ], the authors failed to include only randomized controlled trials RCTsindicating cause-effect relationships cannot be inferred.
In addition, the article defined preschool-aged children as aged under 5 years old, which is quite different from national or international interpretation. Therefore, the effectiveness of physical activity interventions on motor skills in this population is still unclear.
Today, advances in neuroscience have generated substantial progress in connecting physical activity to brain structure and cognitive development [ 18 ].
It is hypothesized that physical activity has a positive effect on cognitive functions, which is partly due to the physiological changes in the body. For example, increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor BDNF can facilitate learning and maintain cognitive functions by improving synaptic plasticity and serving as a neuroprotective agent, which leads to improved neuroelectric activity and increased brain circulation [ 19 ].
In addition, both motor and cognitive skills may have a similar developmental timetable with accelerated development during childhood [ 21 ]. In fact, the literature consistently reports that increased physical activity time in school has no detrimental effect on academic performance and may even enhance academic attainment, executive functions, and on-task behaviors in children and adolescents [ 1922 — 25 ].
In addition, emerging evidence suggests that active children tend to have better health and cognitive outcomes when compared to their less active peers [ 7 ]. While interest in the relationship between exercise and cognitive functioning has grown over the past decade, the literature concerning the benefits of physical activity on cognition has been addressed in research with older children or adults for the most part.
Regrettably, to date, there has been no known comprehensive review specifically examining the effectiveness of physical activity on cognitive outcomes in early childhood.
Early childhood is the most critical and rapid period of complete and healthy motor and cognitive development in human life [ 26 ]; increased physical activity may provide motor and cognitive benefits across childhood and adolescence [ 1727 ]. There is an urgent need to synthesize RCT studies to definitively establish the presence of effects of physical activity on motor skills and cognitions as well as identify the dose-response relationships for the population of preschool children.
Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to systematically evaluate the available evidence examining the effects of physical activity on motor skills and cognitive development in healthy preschool children. Specifically, this systematic review aims to identify, synthesize, and interpret the best available evidence for minimal and optimal amounts of physical activity needed to promote motor skills and cognitive development among children aged 4—6 years.
Further, this review attempts to help inform scholars and health professionals concerning the benefits of regular physical activity participation and the development of evidence-based physical activity guidelines for this age group. Operational Definition For the purposes of this review, the terms to be used throughout the paper are defined as follows: Different categories of motor skills are distinguished in the current review, including fine and gross motor skills, locomotor and object control skills, and body coordination.
Notably, the categories are not exclusive, and as such, motor skills from one category may contain elements of other categories [ 16 ]. The literature search was conducted by the coauthors as a collaborative effort of the research team. Search terms were discussed among the research team and used in combination: Eligibility Criteria The following inclusion criteria were used for each study: Other study designs, such as cohort and observational studies, were retrieved but excluded in the analysis.An introduction to the relation of physical activity to cognitive and brain health, and scholastic achievement.
The current pandemic of physical inactivity threatens both physical and cognitive health throughout the lifespan. “The human brain seems to benefit from physical activity at each age. Moving matters—especially for those brain regions that are important for learning and memory, such as the hippocampus,” said Carsten Diener, PhD, to IDEA Fitness Journal, as a result of new research available in The World.
School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance | 3-EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. that are aligned with the development of fundamental motor skills.
The development of complex motor skills. Findings favor causal evidence of relations between physical activity with both motor skills and cognitive development in preschool children, with increased physical activity having significant beneficial effects on motor skills and cognitive functioning.
Many studies increasingly show that there is a positive correlation between a child’s physical activity and his or her mental development; in fact, physical activity has a three-fold benefit to mental development: social, academic, and mental health. Many studies increasingly show that there is a positive correlation between a child’s physical activity and his or her mental development; in fact, physical activity has a three-fold benefit to mental development: social, academic, and mental health.