The Correlation Between Exercise and Learning

When you were a kid, what was the most important part of your school day? The answer is recess, of course! Unfortunately schools across the country are trying to improve their overall academic performance by making cuts to recess, breaks, and electives, but often times those electives include physical education classes. Many schools may view physical education as a “social” course where children have the opportunity to play and be social, but in reality the benefits of physical education courses are much more cognitive! According to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine, exercise can significantly improve children’s cognitive abilities and their academic performance, not to mention their health. The study continues that children who are more active are better able to “focus their attention, are quicker to perform simple tasks, and have better working memories and problem solving skills than less-active children.” Additionally, physically active children tend to perform better on standardized testing, something Florida public schools often struggle with.
It is recommended that all students get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Promoting physical education classes, recess and classroom breaks can contribute to 60 active minutes a day. Encouraging your child to participate in after-school sports and walking, skateboarding or biking to school can also increase their activity time. If your child’s school is considering eliminating recess or physical education in favor of longer classes and more dormant classroom time, contact the principal and speak to them about the important benefits of the daily 60 minutes of active time for your child.