Over the past several decades we’ve learned about all the health benefits that come with exercise. There are the obvious benefits like increased energy, weight loss, and strengthening of muscles and bones. But activity also has a positive effect on brain health and memory and educators should use that to their advantage.
Movement can help people think, focus, and process better. The change increases your blood flow and bathes your prefrontal cortex with your learning chemicals and increases neural connections in our prefrontal cortex.
Kim Bevill was a high school history and psychology teacher for 14 years before diving into the world of neuroscience. Now, Kim helps train educators to understand how the brain works so educators can get better results in the classroom.
Bevill advocates for students to get up and move at least every 20 minutes.
Bevill says that as a society we except that movement is essential, but often well-intentioned educators feel like keeping students in one place is the best practice.
“If every single school, no matter what age we’re educating, did 30 minutes of activity every day to get their heart rate up. At least to a 70% maximum heart rate. What they’re going to see is an increase in math skills and second an increase in reading and processing,” says Bevill.
Bevill says her clients often come back to her and say that requiring movement every 20 minutes changed attitudes in the classroom from lethargic to attentive.
“You can almost feel it in a room at 20minutes,” says Bevill. “You can feel the energy start to subside.”
To hear more from Bevill about the positive effects of exercise can have on learning, listen to Episode 57 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.