Childhood activities aren't what they used to be. Traditional Filipino games such as tumbang preso and patintero have ceased to be common playtime activities, rejected in favor of Wiis and Xboxes with the new generation of technological fanatics. Many of our kids may even grow up not knowing how to play the games of our childhood and missing out the fond childhood memories that may come with them. Blame it on the recent technological creations that stir young minds these days, making couch potatoes of otherwise active children and teens.

Some parents think screen time is better for their children than playing outdoors since they can see exactly what their kids are doing, and anyway, there are educational games and shows. Still others believe that more time should be spent with books and homework in the study than with balls or rackets on court or field. Well, surprise, surprise--it turns out that the opposite is true! Recent research reveals that physical activity (and ergo fitness) is, in fact, much more beneficial to a child's academic performance.

Based on a recent study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine, taking away physical fitness or sports from a child's schedule is actually counterproductive. The study, which was conducted on 338 sixth-grade students in central Illinois, found that students who were more active and fit generally attained stronger academic achievement. The study's lead researcher, Ronald W. Bass, also explains that students who were said to "meet cardiovascular fitness standards were also said to be six times more likely to meet or exceed Illinois reading standards and over two-and-a-half times more likely to meet or exceed the math standards."

But Ma. Magdalena M. Evangelista, a high school teacher at Saint Louis College in San Fernando City, La Union, says otherwise: "In my 15 years of experience teaching, mostly, students who are active in sports, in fact, end up having academic problems. And being an adviser as well, that is the usual problem I encounter. Students complain they are tired from playing, so they failed to study anymore--as if all energies have run out." But has she encountered students who excelled in sports and academic aspect at the same time? "Yes, but very, very few," she admits.

Still, it may be that the task of regulation, of making sure that a healthy balance between extracurricular activities like arts or sports and academic subjects is achieved, falls on the shoulders of both the schools and the parents. It isn't only that parents need to mentor their kids and be active in their participation in school activities. They'll also need to make sure that the academic load of the school they're giving their kids isn't too heavy to allow for kids' interests and time management to be well-rounded. And with child obesity becoming a growing problem worldwide, wouldn't it be a good idea to make sure your child gets regular exercise he or she enjoys and can practice into adulthood?

Check out the slide show below for a few sports your child may want to try. Each sport brings a different combination of skills to the table, skills that can assist them with not only their thought processes, but their socialization as well. Let us know which sports you played as a child, and, if applicable, which sports you think your kids would want to try.

Want to learn about other new findings related to parenting strategies? Check out the articles below:
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