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Physical Activity In Schools Declining

By | Neuroscience | No Comments

Physical activity is key to emotional health and physical well-being. Also, students and adults alike can focus more readily when there is physical activity involved. The brain scan above shows the impact on the brain after just 20 minutes of walking.

In a recent article on Forbes.com, Lee Igel details how schools across the country are cutting out time at recess to make more time for academic studies. He outlines several issues with a decrease in play time and physical activity:

  1. Rates of childhood obesity have more than doubled in children during the past 30 years and about 18% of children in the U.S. are obese, according to both a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association;

  2. Countries that are internationally regarded as having the best education systems, such as Finland, schedule time for students to have unstructured breaks throughout the day;

  3. Activities—physical, emotional, cognitive, and social—that children regularly engage in during recess are essential to development and well-being, in childhood and throughout the lifespan.

  4. Kids eat better and healthier when they get recess.

When educating our students, let’s focus on providing a holistic educational model that takes into account the physiology and culture that creates the best learning outcomes and lifetime impact. As the MRI scan shows, a little physical activity can go a long way. Instead of decreasing recess, maybe we should be adding another one throughout the day.