Brief Exercise Breaks During Class Helps Bodies and Brains

Two-minute exercise breaks in the classroom may help school children meet physical activity goals without disrupting learning, new research suggests.

University of Michigan researchers say short bursts of in-classroom activity can trim childhood obesity rates while helping elementary schools provide 30 minutes of daily exercise for students.

“What we’re showing is that we can give kids an additional 16 minutes of health-enhancing physical activity,” said lead investigator Rebecca Hasson, an associate professor of kinesiology and nutritional sciences.

Children in the United States are supposed to get at least one hour of exercise each day, including 30 minutes of physical activity during school hours, the study authors explained. Most don’t reach this daily goal.

“Many kids don’t have PE (physical education) every day but they might have recess, and if they get 10 more minutes of activity there, it would meet that school requirement,” Hasson said in a university news release. “This doesn’t replace PE, it’s a supplement. We’re trying to create a culture of health throughout the entire school day, not just in the gym.”

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