Posts Tagged ‘exercise impacts learning’

Get exercise a fun oddball way. – Doc Meek

I am always reminding teachers and students (and parents) that the brain requires movement of the body to thrive and learn better.


I read of an unusual fun exercise program in South Africa.

Silly costumes add fun

Silly costumes add fun






Photo from www.123RF

Called “Secret Sunrise,” it is a bit of a craze that has caught on with adults.
Why not students of any age?
They call it “Secret” because nobody knows where the gathering is going to take place until the “last minute,” just to make it more fun.
The group gathers outdoors (or any place really) just before sunrise (or any time really), and everyone is encouraged to wear a silly/goofy costume of some kind (to add to the fun and joyful mirth). :o)
Good high energy music is played into the ears via headphones so that the neighbors are not disturbed.
And dance away ’til the sun rises!
Or just dance away wherever you are and whenever you are!
Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, Feb 12, 2016

“How Exercise Impacts Learning (Part II).” – Jane Wolff

Saturday, June 2, 2012.  Today I am grateful for teacher Allison Cameron of Park City School, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA, for her pioneering work with the proven value of movement in raising student marks! – Doc Meek


(Click on image to enlarge): City Park School, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA


This article (Part I and Part II) was written by Jane Wolff on behalf of Sopris Learning who develop learning resources for children and schools. They offer many tools and resources including a writing curriculum and a reading curriculum.

Get Kids Moving

What can parents, teachers and stakeholders do to increase physical exercise for children?

First, speak up when school administrators or parents suggest cutting recess or gym to increase test scores. The research is very clear—kids need to move to learn!

Second, incorporate movement into daily activities. Go for a walk, play simple games or use songs and hand movements to teach academic subjects. Don’t overschedule kids with extracurricular activities and monitor time spent with electronic media. Kids spend as much as 40 hours per week watching T.V., playing video games or doing computer games. While technology has its place, too much of it can contribute to a lack of exercise and obesity.

Spend time outdoors. Kids who play outdoors regularly are more resilient to stress and anxiety, according to a 2005 study published in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. Regular, unstructured outdoor play time also helps kids develop problem solving skills, creative thinking and motor skills.

Safe outdoor play spaces are often limited or non-existent in urban areas. Work in your community to build parks, open spaces and trails for kids. One non-profit group, Kaboom, is working to transform abandoned, urban lots into “Wild Spaces,” or areas where children can dig in the dirt, build a fort or pick flowers. Playgrounds are great, but wild spaces provide a different, and much needed, experience.

Parents living in urban areas may not have a lot of experience with hiking or nature exploring. Nature clubs, led by an experienced hiker or naturalist, are a safe, comfortable way for parents and kids to learn about the natural world.

A Natural Learning Style

If you watch kids engaged in unstructured play, you’ll notice a few interesting things. Kids rarely opt to sit at a desk, reading, writing or studying, for hours on end. Instead, they use their hands to build things or create projects. Left to their own devices, kids don’t sit quietly. They move around, talk with friends and engage in make believe. Kids may become engaged in a project for a long period of time, but they’re usually using their hands or their bodies, in addition to their minds.

Kids’ naturally learn through movement. When we recognize and respect that characteristic, we’re able to design curriculum and experiences that engage a child’s body and mind. Not only do active kids perform better in school, but they’re usually happier and calmer, as well. Happy kids mean happy teachers and parents, creating a trickle-down effect of positive results. So get out the jump ropes and bouncing balls and get moving!

Play actually helps student brains to develop for better learning

Image from:


Again, a big thank you to Jane Wolff for her great tips for parents and teachers about movement and learning, and to Sopris Learning for their reading and writing programs!

Doc Meek, Sat, June 2, 2012, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. If you missed Part I of this great article by Jane Wolff on behalf of Sopris Learning, click on this link:

“How Exercise Impacts Learning (Part I).” – Jane Wolff

“How Exercise Impacts Learning (Part I).” – Jane Wolff

Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Today I am grateful for Jane Wolff, Sopris Learning, and Allison Cameron for their educational leadership. – Doc Meek


(Click on image to enlarge): Park City School, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA


This article (Part I and Part II) has been written by Jane Wolff on behalf of Sopris Learning who develop learning resources for children and schools. They offer many tools and resources including a writing curriculum and a reading curriculum.

Moving Equals Learning

Teachers and parents are constantly looking for strategies to boost learning, but what if the solution was as simple as spending more time at recess or gym? Turns out, physical activity can have a significant impact on cognitive function and academic achievement. A 2007 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that students who increased physical activity at school scored significantly higher on standardized test scores. Numerous other studies have shown similar results.

What does exercise have to do with learning? Researchers believe that exercise may improve cognitive function in several ways. First, exercising releases “feel good” hormones, known as endorphins. These hormones promote feelings of peace and well-being. After exercise, children are better able to focus and concentrate because of this hormone release. Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, including the brain. More blood flow means more oxygen, resulting in improved brain function. Physical exercise also improves internal nutrient uptake so kids get the energy they need to learn and think.

While some schools have cut recess and gym programs in recent years because of reduced budgets or an over-emphasis on academics, many schools understand the value of exercise in school settings. For example, teachers at Lone Tree Elementary School, a magnet school in Denver, Colorado, USA, weave music and movement throughout the day. Additionally, the entire school takes a “Brain Break” mid-morning. During this time, children engage in music, movement and games, in addition to regularly scheduled recess and gym times. The staff at Lone Tree Elementary understands that children learn through movement and activity.

At City Park school in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA, resource teacher Allison Cameron has been providing leadership for many years, before other schools took up the challenge. Here is City Park school’s description of their current program, “Movement Matters”:

Movement Matters



(Click on images to enlarge): Students in Allison Cameron’s class at City Park School, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA, stride purposefully on treadmills provided by a fitness expert; by walking briskly to get their heart rates into the “training zone” these students can focus and do schoolwork meaningfully for 2-3 hours, an impossibility prior to the introduction of the exercise program.

Movement Matters is a science-based program, designed to enhance mental focus, retention and cognition through specific physical activities before class instruction. By enhancing oxygen and blood flow through the brain and body for a specific pace and time benefits the:

Body by allowing stored body fat to be accessed as the preferred fuel source.

Brain because collateral circulation potentially multiplies brain cells and enhances cognition when a learning stimulus is offered immediately following the session.

Spirit because neurochemicals are released enhancing mood and focus which leads to greater self esteem, classroom compliance, and the reduction of disciplinary issues.

The aim is to provide a simple and inexpensive solution to reduce children’s exposure to chronic diseases, while fostering lifelong fitness habits, enhancing academic performance, and reducing absenteeism and disciplinary issues.

The approach is that it gets all kids active, not just the athletically inclined; instills lifetime health and wellness benefits of physical activity; exposes kids to the fun and long-term benefits of movement; and integrates Physical Education with other academic subjects.


A big thank you to Jane Wolff for her great tips for parents and teachers about movement and learning, and to Sopris Learning for their great reading and writing programs, and to Allison Cameron for her pioneering work with movement and learning!

Doc Meek, Wed, May 23, 2012, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

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