MOVEMENT & LEARNING

51UrPXcvzjM7kFEkEcxhhNo0wwkD1dKc9inMAhIQpVM

Sitting still has been our dominant model for learning in schools. For decades, the educational and scientific communities seemed to believe that thinking was thinking and movement was movement, and each was as separate as could be. We were wrong.

Research definitively shows that movement and learning are connected –

in order for children to learn, they need to be able to move.

As one researcher put it, movement is cognitive candy. Students who are engaged in daily physical education programs consistently show not just superior motor fitness, but better academic performance and a better attitude toward school than their students who do not participate in daily P.E.

MOVEMENT IS KEY

In September 2014, the journal Pediatrics published research that found kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function. The findings “demonstrate a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health.”

Physical activity is clearly a high, high-yield investment for all kids, but especially those attentive or hyperactive, maximizing the utility of time spent in class. The improvements in this case came in executive control, which consists of inhibition (resisting distraction, maintaining focus), working memory, and cognitive flexibility (switching between tasks).

Another study found that a 12-week exercise program improved math and reading test scores in all kids, but especially in those with signs of ADHD.

There are many reasons kids aren’t moving enough any more:

1. THE LOSS OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION

PE has been cut or dramatically decreased in most American schools. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Today, however, only 4 percent of elementary schools, 8 percent of middle schools, and 2 percent of high schools provide daily physical education.

In Los Angeles, physical education class sizes rose to 80 students in some cases, making effective teaching nearly impossible. Only 31 percent of California students passed a state-wide physical fitness test last year, in part because of budget cuts wiped out physical education programs. In a 2011 survey released by the California State PTA, 75 percent of California PTA members said their children’s PE or sports programs were cut or reduced dramatically.

2. KIDS DON’T WALK TO SCHOOL

Among students living within 1 mile of school, the percentage of walkers fell from 90% to 31% between 1969 and 2001.

According to the CDC, only 13% of children walk to school today compared with 66% in 1970.

3. INCREASE IN SEDENTARY ACTIVITIES

A groundbreaking study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that children between ages 8-18 are spending, on average, 7.5 hours/day in front of a screen SITTING, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Combine that with the time sitting at school (between 4-6 hours/day), driving to school, sitting at meals, and doing homework at kids are spending 10-14 hours/day or 75% of their waking hours in sedentary positions.

In 1980, there were 81,000,000 TVs in American households. Today, there are 324,000,000 TVs. At the same time the number of TVs has tripled, the number of obese children and adolescents has also tripled.

LATEST BLOG ARTICLES

SHARE THIS PAGE