Healthy Bodies = Healthy Brains

Kid Superman - physical activity is good for brain health

If you’ve ever watched kids playing in a park, you know that most are naturally active and love to move around.

But have you thought that all those hours spent flying kites and swinging on the monkey bars can be a child’s first steps towards better performance in the classroom?

It’s true! In addition to keeping kids healthy and strong, being active for just 60 minutes a day has been shown to:

  • Increase concentration and focus
  • Improve classroom attendance and behaviour
  • Boost academic performance

All that blood pumping to the brain makes it function at its best. It brings more oxygen to cells involved in learning and attention, and even increases levels of certain hormones that can improve mood and fight stress. But kids don’t need to know all of the technical details. For them, it’s fun, and that’s all that matters.

Despite the fact that physical activity is associated with better learners, many schools across North America are cutting back on traditional PE programs. Whether it’s because of budget cuts or pressures to improve academic test scores (a totally counterproductive approach), administrators are hanging on the dated idea that PE must take a backseat. These schools are losing out on not only the academic benefits, but also the social and behavioural benefits that go beyond good grades.

But this doesn’t mean physical activity is off the table. It just means you need to get creative!

 

Physical Activity in the Classroom

When it comes to getting active, there’s no better place than the classroom. After all, school is where kids spend the majority of their time.

Physical activity doesn’t have to happen in a gymnasium, though. Kids are kids, and play can happen anywhere. The more fresh air, the more imagination, the better! And if you can integrate your lesson plans with all of this fun, you’ll have a happier, healthier bunch of kids who won’t even know they’re learning.

If you’re stuck for creative ways to get your students moving, be sure to check out our project ideas. And if you’re having trouble working a big chunk of physical activity into your day, don’t worry. Shorter periods of activity are just as effective as a single session, and are way easier to fit in!

 

Let’s Move Campaign

By getting your students active in school you’re helping build a healthy foundation for life. But why stop there?

Your ongoing efforts in the classroom have the potential to change an entire generation. By joining First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, you’ll inspire students not only be more active, but also to eat better and grow up healthy. It’s easy to join, and they give you tons of resources to help you and your fellow teachers transform your school into a healthier environment.

 

 

Image courtesy of Lotus Carroll

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