Physical activity is essential for increasing blood flow to the brain and releasing stress. Lack of breaks for exercise can lead to poor concentration and the inability of students to assimilate information properly. If a teacher can keep a student out of their seats and active throughout her day, they are more likely to stay motivated. Physical activity is linked to academic performance and has many other positive benefits.
Tips for breaks in physical activity
High school students often do not get the recommended 60 minutes of necessary physical activity per day. Here are some tips for a high school teacher to incorporate physical activity into her day.
- Integrate physical activity with academic concepts when possible.
- Ask students to share and guide their ideas for physical activity breaks.
- Create a classroom physical activity calendar that includes a variety of activities for the month.
- Bring some fun gear like beanbags, balancing mats, and jump ropes.
- Create music playlists that match your body movements. Have students choose songs and include songs with appropriate lyrics.
- Keep physical activity breaks short and manageable.
- Change activities so that all students can participate.
- Leverage students and teachers as advocates and to provide resources.
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Breathing exercises help relieve stress. Make it a routine to practice your breathing before a test or presentation. The student must count her four times slowly for a total of six breaths. They must hold their breath for 4 seconds and slowly exhale while counting to 4. Have the student put his feet shoulder-width apart and his fingertips together, then take three deep breaths.
Leading students in stretching can also help reduce tension. They should hold each stretch for about 20 seconds.
- touch toes
- Extend your arms into the air.
- Do an arm circle.
- Lift your knees to your chest.
- Do quad stretches.
Have the student sit in a chair and keep their back straight. Play some music with a strong beat and ask them to do the following:
- They must swing their arms, lift their knees, and behave as if they were hiking.
- Students must move their arms and leg movements to perform different swimming movements.
- Students should keep their hands on the seat of the chair and pedal as if they were riding a bicycle.
- Students are required to paddle and swing the canoe from side to side, acting as if they were holding a paddle.
Repeat 10 times for each movement.
- March on the spot.
- Head over to the chair and tap the chair with your toes.
- Put your feet together and jump left and right.
- Stand up straight, tap the bottom of your chair, and stand up again.
Exercises with brain elements
Divide students into groups of 2 or 3 depending on class size. They must stand in a circle and throw the ball back and forth to other students in the circle. You ask about the content and then the person who receives the ball has to answer the question.
Ask students a series of true-false questions. If you answer “False”, she must touch her toe, and if she answers “True”, she must jump 10 times on the spot.
Divide students into groups and assign topics related to the current lesson. A brisk walk requires her to walk for five minutes to discuss the topic and report the discussion to the class.
Textbooks can be tools for physical activity in the classroom.
- Biceps curl. Hold the textbook in one hand and bend your elbow to lift the book over your shoulder. Switch to the other hand and do the same.
- overhead lift. Hold the textbook with both hands and lift it overhead.
- twist. Hold the textbook with both hands and slowly twist it left and right.
Physical activity breaks are associated with improvements in cognitive performance and test scores. The goal is to get your body moving and your heart beating. Breathing and stretching exercises also play an important role as they help relieve accumulated stress and tension. The above ideas should inspire teachers on what to do during breaks.