Exercise Increases Learning
Funding for physical education programs is often one of the first things cut when schools start slashing their budgets, but according to John Ratey of Harvard Medical School, exercise is an important component of any educational program.
“Exercise, good fitness-based exercise, makes our brains more ready to learn,”
Indeed, research has borne this out:
- Dr. Charles Hillman at the University of Illinois found that students were as much as 10% better at solving problems after spending 30 minutes on a treadmill.
- A review published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that there is substantial evidence that increasing physical activity can improve grades and boost standardized test scores.
- In a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers concluded that kids who got more exercise also did better in school.
4 Ways to Get Kids Moving More
Increase physical education.
By providing physical education classes, schools can significantly increase the amount of exercise kids get, which leads to the creation of new brain cells and better learning. The best results are achieved when students enjoy the exercise, so try to keep physical education fun. Some schools do phys ed in different forms and have more choice for kids other than the old style phys ed that we know of (like doing those boring rolling and stretching exercises in the gym). Modern dance lessons are a great way to exercise and there is no reason why hip hop and street dance cannot be part of a great exercising routine. Fun all the way!
These kids are having a great time and keeping fit too!
Integrate physical activity with classroom learning.
Even a 5-minute break to stretch and move around can help boost learning. Encourage kids to move around in the classroom if practical. When possible, try to use activity-based learning that gets kids moving around.
Host a school fun run.
A fun run is a fundraising event that is used to raise money for school programs and equipment. Encourage kids to get involved, not just for the fundraising aspect but for fun and fitness.
Encourage exercise outside of school.
A quick run before school, or even just walking to school, can give kids a boost to get the brain working in the morning. Some schools have organized “walk to and from school groups” so that they can all walk home in the same direction with parental supervision and in safety. After-school activities are useful too. Extra- curricular sports teams and games are a great way to motivate kids to excersise and be part of something meaningful. They improve kids’ fitness levels while giving them an outlet to release the day’s stress.
There is so much more to learning than just sitting in a classroom soaking up knowledge. Kids need to be active to promote the development of new brain cells and maximize their learning potential. If you want your kids to do better in school, find ways to get them moving. It’s good for their minds as well as their bodies.
Schoolfunrun.com.au Fundraising through the Adidas School Fun Run brought in more than $2.5 million for participating schools last year. It’s a great idea that could be implemented in any schools.