Recently there has been growing evidence that physical activity improves mental activity. Indeed a study from the University of British Columbia showed that regular exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.
Likewise a report from the Harvard Medical School revealed that, “regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills.”
There has also been lots of evidence generated showing that more activity throughout the day improves pupil focus, behaviour, wellness and academic performance, as well as health and fitness.
Indeed as the research shows, when you give children short bursts of mild physical activity within a lesson they return to learning more focused. And indeed this is one of the reasons why the additional 30 minutes of structured activity has now been introduced.
For, although common sense suggests that by taking time out of the day’s teaching timetable means the children will learn less, if that short period is spent on modest levels of physical activity the amount of learning that subsequently takes place increases considerably.
And that is before we even think of the benefits in terms of encouraging regular activity in children in order to reduce the chances of obesity.
The new government directive requires all primary schools in England to provide 30 minutes of structured physical activity each day to all children in the school, in addition to the weekly two hours of PE, and it is to support this practice that the PE and Sport Premium funding has been doubled this year.
To see how this approach can be implemented by making classrooms more active and the benefits it brings your pupils, we’ve now made available online a series of free trials of activity sessions. Each session can be implemented within classroom lessons.