Fifteen minutes of physical activity during a day works magic.
We know that fresh air and exercise are key components of a balanced life and developing balanced, healthier kids. The question is, can we afford that time in an already crowded day? We believe there’s an overwhelming body of evidence that says we can’t afford not to provide this opportunity.
Fifteen minutes of exercise during the school day isn’t a distraction. It improves focus and a child’s readiness to learn. Studies show that sedentary students demonstrate a decrease in time on task.
Other studies document that just a single bout of moderate intensity activity (brisk walking or running) significantly improve a student’s performance on tasks requiring attentional inhibition. Additional available evidence suggests the strongest relationships exist between aerobic activity and performance in mathematics, reading, and English.
Running is especially beneficial with respect to tasks that require working memory and problem solving. Kids learn more after they walk or run.
If you’d like to see just how much kids have to gain from just being active, please check out this article that covers just some of the evidence we’ve referenced: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK201501/
Above and beyond the cognitive benefits, participation in a program like Recess Run Club enhances school connectedness and makes a kid less likely to engage in risky behavior.
One of the best aspects of Recess Run Club is that it creates opportunities for teachers and their classes to set goals, work towards them, and celebrate their accomplishments. As an example, a class may decide to run/walk a cumulative distance over a specified time period… let’s say 20 miles in a month.
This then becomes a great chance to work math (or any other discipline) into the project. If twenty students each walk 1000 meters one day each week and we combine their distance, how many meters will they walk each month? How do we convert meters to miles? How many miles is it from Conway, NH, to Washington, D.C.? How many miles did a Roman Legion typically march each day during a campaign? How long would it take us to travel the length of the Great Wall of China on foot?
A class might decide their “virtual goal” is to walk to Boston… the teacher then might put a map on the wall with a highlighted route and move a pushpin along the route as the class advances. The kids would see their progress as they learn the route and do the math together.
Interdisciplinary learning is then linked to activity and fun.
We’ve re-tooled our Run Club format to fit a standard 20-minute recess period. Here’s what a session looks like:
Warm-up: 5 minutes. Example:
High knee march: 20 meters out and High Knee run back.
20 Mountain Climbers.
Walking lunge: 10 meters out and back.
Walking heel-pull: 10 meters out, and Walking Knee Hug 10 meters back.
Skip for height: 20 meters out and back.
20 Shoulder Taps.
Next: The Steady Rate Run.
Walk, Jog, or Run on a safe, observable loop for 15 minutes. It may be the perimeter of a playing field or playground. Cover as much distance as you can!