Many teachers are now incorporating Brain Breaks into the daily classroom routine. This is being done with good reason. There are numerous studies showing that regular activity improves not only fitness, but brain function too. When kids move more, they are more able to focus, learn and do well in the classroom. A 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine concluded that children who are more active “show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.” By spending 3-5 minutes moving in the classroom, the next 45 will be much more effective for learning, which is a big pay-off for students and teachers.
Brain Breaks are often associated with younger students, but they are not just for elementary school. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “The benefits of periodic breaks in the academic day to optimize cognitive processing, applies equally to adolescents and to younger children.” Teenagers need brain breaks as much as the younger set. The truth is that people of all ages can benefit from brain breaks, as more and more studies document the dangerous health impacts of sitting too long.
The current activity guidelines from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for children and adolescents is 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily, with most of the 60 minutes being moderate to vigorous. It is important to keep the activities enjoyable and offer a variety. As for adults, they should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
So, why let the kids have all of the fun? Your entire family can benefit from brain breaks and they do not have to limited to time at school or work. Make it an all-ages affair.
Here are some resources for Brain Breaks:
No computer needed:
- Simon Says
- Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- Go for a walk, play a game, run around the yard for time
- Freeze Dance
- Dance Party taking turns following the leader
- Hop on one foot, jumping jacks, high knees, push-ups, etc.
- Yoga poses
- Make up your own moves, write them down and put them in a jar so when a brain break is needed, you can take turns picking one out!
Online brain breaks for the younger set:
- Go Noodle – You can set up your own free account and start moving
- Link: https://www.gonoodle.com
- Cosmic Kids Yoga – A fun, story based yoga class for younger kids.
- The Learning Station – Songs with movement for younger kids.
- Have Fun Teaching – Learning songs for younger kids
For Older Kids/Adults:
- The Fitness Marshall – Learn the latest dance moves to popular songs, for older kids and adults.
- Fitness Blender – Choose 5-75 minute workouts based upon equipment and goals, older kids and adults
- Yoga With Adriene – She has lots of free yoga videos and there are many 10 minute ones for a quick yoga break, for older kids and adults. You could also just try one pose as a family.
For Teachers and Parents:
- Active Academics – Search by grade and topic and learn how to incorporate movement into learning.
- Energizers – Movement is based around academics
- Move to Learn – Movement and song based around different educational topics, grades K-12.