Physical Activity And Learning

children jumping

A recent study has concluded that incorporating physical activity into teaching time increases learning. For example, ask students to answer a true/false question by jumping up and down to indicate “true” and doing a jumping jack to indicate “false.” Alternatively, have students jump to match the answer to a math question—e.g. if the answer is “4” the student jumps 4 times.

Researchers looked at data from over 12,000 students from ages 3-14 years old. Children who were more active as part of the lesson were more focused, followed teachers’ instructions more closely, and learned more during the lesson.

An added benefit of using physical activity in conjunction with lessons is that the children’s level of physical activity obviously increases! This helps to counteract all the time students are sedentary at school and home.

You can incorporate this at home, perhaps when helping with homework, or asking about your child’s day (one jump=not so great day up to 10 jumps=super great day!), or any yes/no question (one jump=yes, two jumps=no, etc.)

Citation: Emma Norris, Tommy van Steen, Artur Direito, Emmanuel Stamatakis. Physically active lessons in schools and their impact on physical activity, educational, health and cognition outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2019; bjsports-2018-100502