Walking to School Can Reduce Stress
Researchers reported their findings in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal August edition. Children (simulation) who walks to school experience less increase in systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and stress felt during exam, compared with children who rides a vehicle to school.
Cardiovascular reactivity – including changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress – is associated with early cardiovascular disease in children, and atherosclerosis – the danger because of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances on the arterial wall – – in adults.
“The process of heart disease begins in childhood. So if we can find some way to stop or slow the process, it will provide important health benefits,” said James Roemmich, professor of pediatrics at the University of Buffalo, according to Medical News Today. “We know that physical activity has a protective effect against development of cardiovascular disease, and one way which might do this is to reduce stress reactivity.”
Roemmich said that we do not know how long the protective effect of physical exercise against heart attacks. Therefore, Roemich advises parents and educators to promote active play time to children.
According to researchers, physical activity, even only a few hours, are quite profitable. It would be better if a child walks or ride a bicycling to school, then take a rest at school, rest during lunch breaks, so they have a chance to do physical activity throughout the day. “This will place them in a state to be continuous protective against stressors that arise during the hours of school, such as during exams, or speaking in front of class.”
Roemmich said his study is the first to show that moderate intensity exercise can reduce cardiovascular reactivity of children in the future.