It’s as simple as this: movement increases brain function. Physical activity increases blood flow which brings more oxygen, water, and glucose to the brain, leading to improved concentration. Physical activity also increases endorphins, which have a positive effect on mood. As a result, Active Kids Learn Better.
Research shows that physical activity affects the brain in ways that allow students to be more engaged and ready to learn. Brain science shows that if a child is sitting too long, s/he is missing out on vital movements that increase brain function and activity.
There are a number of activities that can contribute to an active classroom:
- Morning wake up warm up activities
- Classroom physical activity breaks (also known as brain breaks, brain boosters, energizers, and similar)
- Integrating physical activity into classroom instruction, including walking while learning
- Sit-stand desks, pedal desks, balance boards to stand on at a standing desk, and similar
- Yoga and plyometrics breaks
- Wearable devices and technology-based fitness logs to track physical activity
- And more!
These various physical activity options can energize a group, such as after lunch, or relax and calm a class, such as before a test.
Deciding about the use of class time for academics or physical activity/health is a false choice! Classroom teachers can contribute to their students’ need for the nationally-recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day while simultaneously teaching/reinforcing academic concepts.
And the best news of all is that tools and resources needed for active classrooms exist in many forms. Below are some available, for free or at a cost, from Active Schools’ partner organizations.
Morning wake up warm up activities:
Classroom physical activity breaks and/or integration of physical activity into classroom instruction:
- Active Academics
- Activity Works
- Adventure to Fitness
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation
- Focused Fitness
- Hip Hop Healthy Heart Program for Children
- National Association of Physical Literacy
- Operation Tone-Up
Walking while learning:
Stand-stand desks, pedal desks, balance boards to stand on at a standing desk, and similar:
Yoga and plyometrics breaks:
Wearable devices and technology-based fitness logs to track physical activity:
Variety of equipment and resources:
Active schools/classrooms/learning professional development: