Unlike a specific class period of physical education, brain breaks are short bursts of physical activity that can happen throughout the day in the traditional classroom. They often last only one to three minutes and require minimal supplies and preparation. So, do they work?
While brain breaks are not a substitute for physical education nor the recommended sixty minutes of physical activity each day for youth, they do benefit mind and body health. Different studies in the classroom have shown some of the following benefits of regularly participating in brain breaks: improved classroom behavior, improved student concentration and increased academic achievement.
Teachers as well as parents can encourage and lead youth to take a brain break throughout the day. Here are some ideas for including brain breaks:
- A set of twenty-one physical activity cards by Alliance for a Healthier Generation are ready to print with instructions for a variety of easy tasks to act out. A few of the tasks require a ball for students to complete the physical activity but most of them can be acted out without any props.
- An online resource, GoNoodle is for teachers as well as parents. Anyone can create a free GoNoodle account and link to clips that lead youth in a variety of healthy activity games.
- Healthy Learning Brain Breaks, OSU Extension Lucas County handout with simple activities
- American Heart Association shares In School Activity Breaks
- A-B-C For Fitness™ stands for “Activity Bursts in the Classroom.” They share a detailed manual for teachers to use brain breaks in the classroom.
During my late afternoon stretch at the office, my mind wonders, “if it’s good for youth in the classroom, are brain breaks good for my adult mind and body too?”