RESEARCH: Why Classrooms Need Movement Everyday

Research Round-up!

A fun activity to spice up the afternoon or a research-backed way to boost test scores? Simple way to get the wiggles our or a genius solution scientifically proven to help kids focus? Answer: GoNoodle is all of the above. What most teachers intuitively know about the connection between movement and learning is also known by scientists, researchers, and thought leaders specializing in the adolescent brain, education, and exercise. Here’s a roundup of the latest, most impactful studies outlining why movement needs to be an integral part of every classroom every day.

The Challenge of Movement in Today’s Schools

  • The US Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents should have 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day, but according to the CDC, only 21.6% attained 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on at least 5 days per week. (via the CDC).
  • 48% of all schools in the USA have no physical education (via PHIT America).
  • P.E. & other activity breaks have been cut to focus on education (via PHIT America).
  • “In 1961, President Kennedy said school kids needed physical activity to thrive, but in the past 20 years, the pendulum has totally shifted the opposite way because schools are feeling the pressure to have students do well on standardized tests. We are not thinking about the child as an entire person, how physical activity helps them cope with the stresses of school and actually benefits them in the classroom.” Lindsay DiStefano, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut (via New York Times)

The Academic Benefits

  • “A 2013 study of nearly 12,000 Nebraska students… found that aerobically fit students were more likely to pass the state’s standardized math and reading tests, regardless of their weight or socioeconomic status.” (via The Hechinger Report)
  • “Simple in-class activities can boost performance. Studies suggest that children who participate in short bouts of physical activity within the classroom have more on-task behavior, with the best improvement seen in students who are least on-task initially.” (via  a paper by Matthew T. Mahar, et al)
  • “How does exercise improve learning? Engaging in physical activity increases blood flow and oxygenation in the brain, boosting neural connectivity and stimulating nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, the center of learning and memory. So exercise actually changes the structure of our brains, with a number of benefits: improved attention and memory, increased brain activity and cognitive function, and enhanced mood and ability to cope with stress.” (via Edutopia)
  • “Researchers found that students who were physically fit were much more likely to score better on state standardized tests. They were 27 percent more likely to be proficient in math and 24 percent more likely to be proficient in reading.” (via Star Tribune)

The Behavioral Benefits

  • “Time spent engaged in physical activity is related not only to a healthier body but also to a healthier mind.” (via Hillman et al., 2008)
  • “In a series of recent studies, short physical activity breaks in the classroom improved students’ behavior, increasing the effort they put into their activities as well as their ability to stay on task.” (via Edutopia)
  • “Students who are physically active and healthy have higher test scores, lower rates of discipline referrals and increased focus in the classroom.” Carly Wright, advocacy director for SHAPE (via The Hechinger Report)
  • Physical exercise “provides an unparalleled stimulus, creating an environment in which the brain is ready, willing, and able to learn.” Dr. John Ratey, Harvard Medical School (via Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain)

     

Research Round-up!GoNoodle gets over 14 million kids moving in classrooms and homes around the world! Short movement and mindfulness videos boost productivity, improve behavior, and build community for kids. GoNoodle videos are available for free at GoNoodle.com and in our iOS and Google Play apps. Create a free account to get started!

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