Activities To Power Young Bodies … And Minds

November 20, 2013

GibbonMy husband and I had very different childhoods.

Sports were the center of his childhood world. Games and practice came first. If he forgot about a homework assignment until late at night, his family would rally and pitch in to help him get it done. He didn’t work in high school, he played sports — that was his job.

My world was school. I got paid good cash for bringing home A’s and was promptly grounded if I came home with anything less than a B+. Doing well in school was my main job (in addition to my required part-time job) and all extra curricular activities came second –- no doubt about it.

Two opposite views on the importance of school vs. extra-curricular activities. And now that my husband and I have children, you can imagine our debates about where to place the emphasis as they continue to grow.

But the good news: We don’t need to pick sides.

Several recent studies have shown a direct correlation between the benefits of physical activity on a child’s brain. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine asserts that “children who are more active show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.”’

Simply put: The studies suggest that boosting your heart rate boosts brain power.

This isn’t news to many youth health organizations. A local one that has been making big strides in youth health and nutrition is YoPro. The organization partners with local school community education departments to utilize their gym and field space and give kids both the skills and knowledge for total body health. It’s the company’s belief that kids who lead a healthy active lifestyle will achieve new levels of academic and sports performance. Yes, academic and sports performance.

yoproGone are the stereotypes of the dumb jock. Its OK, no wait, better than OK to be smart and have a mean layup. And those gangly nerds who are bored with the accelerated classes? Who knows what they might accomplish if they hit the weight machines or pick up running? Its all about a balanced lifestyle, whether your 7 or 70.

With the holidays approaching, I asked YoPro to give me a list of the best toys to promote physical activity in your kids. YoPro CEO and former Viking EJ Henderson came up with the list below.

Bike-Chalk Trail
Nerf Cyber Basketball
Squidgie Ball
‎Gibbon Slackline
Nerf FireVision Football
Twister Dance Rave Game
Flip 2 B Fit Game

While the studies that correlate physical activity to higher academic performance are still in their infancy, imagine how toy marketing would change if the makers of Nerf could claim their footballs could improve ability both on and off the field? Would there be a rush on footballs vs. Furbies or will more manufacturers go the Wii-Fit route, combining high-tech with high-performance? Who knows, maybe some will even create hybrid games. Edgar Allan Pogo anyone? Let the concepting begin.