Health & Medicine

Physical Activity and Its Correlation with Creativity in Children and Adolescents

     Sitting, watching TV, playing on a phone, and being on a computer are some common activities that we see people practicing, especially in this time of globalization where everything is connected and information can be transferred quickly via the internet. Children and youth spend more time on computers and phones, which is considered "sedentary behavior," compared to 10 to 20 years ago. Recently, a research study from Walailak University shows there is a correlation between physical activity and creativity in children and adolescents.

     “We all know that physical activity relates to health, whether it helps with the promotion of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) or Emotional Intelligence (EQ). However, no research study has been done that shows a correlation between physical activity and creativity yet,’ said Assistant Professor Dr. Nitita Piya-amornphan, a lecturer and researcher from the School of Allied Health Sciences.
     Granted funds by ThaiHealth and Walailak University’s Institute of Research and Innovation, Asst. Prof. Dr. Nitita and her team conducted research by collecting data from 1441 healthy students from 34 schools in Southern Thailand: 521 students aged 6-9 years, 487 students aged 14-17 years, and 439 students aged 14-17 years. Physical activity was measured using Thailand Physical Activity Children Survey-the Student Questionnaire (TPACS-SQ). And creativity was measured using the Test for Creative Thinking-Drawing Production (TCT-DP).

     The research finding showed that there is a correlation between physical activity and creativity; the more physical activity children and adolescents participated in, the higher level of creativity showed in the test. The result can be seen prominently in students aged 14-17 years which can be explained by the fact that students in this age group participate in a lot of group activity and active play that may help support creativity.

    Physical activity among students can be encouraged by family and peers to reduce sedentary behavior that can lead to health issues. According to World Health Organization guidelines, children and adolescents aged 5-17 years should do at least 60 minutes a day of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity across the week; most of which should be aerobic. And have at least three days of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities a week that corporate those that strengthen muscle and bone.

   “We have been promoting physical activity especially exercise in children and adolescents. Parents can be an important mechanism in the promotion of physical activity. Managing time between academic matters and physical activity such as exercise and time spent with friends and family is important. And it will benefit students both in academics and in their life,” added Asst. Prof. Dr. Nitita.

     Not only has physical activity been proven to reduce the risks of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and depression, but it also enhances cognitive function by promoting creativity – an important skill in the 21st century. Creativity is a useful tool that helps generate new ideas and is essential for problem-solving and innovation. The ability to think creatively will help students thrive in this fast-changing world.

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Article by Settaboot Onphakdee
Division of Corporate Communication