Why students shouldn’t be forced to spend so much time sitting at desks in class

Originally published Feb. 7, 2019 in the Washington Post.

By Valerie Strauss

We all know it’s not a good idea for anybody to be sedentary for too long, for health reasons that are too long to chronicle here. Yet in many classrooms, kids are still forced to sit at desks for long stretches of time.

This post looks at why and how that is hurting young people. It was written by Brad Johnson and speaks about education, fitness education, school administration and leadership. He is co-author of “Learning on Your Feet: Incorporating Physical Activity Into the K-8 Classroom.”

This post first appeared in the publication Principal, which is published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. I was given permission to republish it. You can find out more at Johnson’s website, doctorbradjohnson.com. Read More

ParticipAction report card fails Canadian kids, connecting academic success with fitness

Originally published June 24, 2018, in the Calgary Herald.

By Eva Ferguson

As ParticipAction releases yet another annual report card giving Canadian kids a failing grade for physical activity, experts say educators need to ramp up efforts to create more opportunities for exercise at school.

The report stresses the connection between exercise and school is becoming more important than ever, echoing a growing body of evidence showing physical health translates into brain health, mental health, and academic success. Read More

Local Lawmakers Push to Boost Recess, P.E. In Elementary Schools

Originally published March 8, 2018 by WAMU 88.5, American University.

By Kathy Goldgeier and Jonathan Wilson

Lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland are looking at ways to expand recess and physical education in elementary schools amid growing concern that kids don’t get enough exercise.

“It’s really staggering how out of a shape a lot of the kids are,” said Matt Slatkin, a P.E. teacher at Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington, describing his sixth-grade students. “I’m talking mile runs above 18 minutes — when they’re giving their best effort.”

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brain

Brief Bouts of Exercise Can Spark Big Bursts of Brain Power

Originally published Jan. 1, 2018 in Psychology  Today.

By Christopher Bergland, The Athlete’s Way

Just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can improve executive function by priming parts of the brain used to laser focus on the task at hand, according to a new study. This paper, “Executive-Related Oculomotor Control Is Improved Following a 10-minute Single-Bout of Aerobic Exercise: Evidence from the Antisaccade Task,” was published in the January 2018 issue of Neuropsychologia.

This research was conducted by Matthew Heath, who is a kinesiology professor and supervisor in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of Western Ontario, along with UWO master’s student Ashna Samani.

For this study, Samani and Heath asked a cohort of healthy young adults to either sit quietly and read magazines or perform 10 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on a stationary bicycle. (MVPA aerobic intensity is hard enough that you might break a sweat but easy enough that you can carry on a conversation.)

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