Apr 6, 2009

Eureka, Physical Activity Benefits Learning!

Sometimes science and research amazes me, sometimes they don’t.
This time it’s the latter.
I read an article that came out in Science Daily last week and all I could think was… Duh!

Researchers at the University of Illinois, have reported finding academic benefits to physical education classes, recess periods and after-school exercise programs.
While I’m sure it’s beneficial to have documented proof, this is hardly news to most parents or elementary school teachers.

The study was conducted with nine year olds who were tested on alternate days after 20 minute rest periods on one day and 20 minute exercise periods on another. It was found that the students performed better after the exercise, particularly in reading. They were better able to pay attention and concentrate.

Based on these finding they are recommending schools:

1. Schedule outdoor recess as a part of each school day.
2. Offer formal physical education 150 minutes per week at the elementary level, 225 minutes at the secondary level.
3. Encourage classroom teachers to integrate physical activity into learning.

As to how teachers can do this, they suggest:

An example of how physical movement could be introduced into an actual lesson would be “when reading poetry (about nature or the change of seasons), students could act like falling leaves” .

Ok, I admit I haven’t been inside an elementary schoolroom since I was in elementary school myself, but when did we stop acting out stories and having recess? At what point did we begin to think medicating our children was a better way to “get the sillies out” than a rousing round of Here We Go Loopty Loo?

Our minds and bodies are intrinsically linked and neither one can operate at prime without the other. We can not learn, love, or live if they are not working together at any age, end of story, period. Now take your children, go outside and climb a tree!


Anonymous said...

I read that too last week and had the same thought, "Well, duh!"

boylerpf said...

I'm with you too...when did they stop having to do anything physical in school? What a bunch of hooeey!!

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I agree, I've read about scientific studies in the paper and lots of times they just confirm what people basically already know.

And because you're such a nice commenter on my blog, you know I blog a lot about kids playing outside!

Nodin's Nest said...

Obimom: Surely there must be better ways to spend research dollars!
Boylerpf: Sometime in the last decade it seems to have all but disapeared, too much time spent on filling in little boxes.
Holly: We do have a leg up on outside activities being in Florida.

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