Brain Breaks: Classroom Fitness for Children – DVD
LPI Healthy Youth Program
Oregon State University
307 Linus Pauling Science Center
Corvallis OR 97331
Please include your name and address and tell us how you plan to use the DVD.
Background Information about Brain Breaks
Clinicians and public health officials recommend that children engage daily in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, such as brisk walking, running, cycling, or playing outdoors. However, opportunities for children to be physically active during school days have decreased in most schools across the United States. Additionally, time spent on sedentary activities like watching TV or playing computer and other video games is increasing. More than 95 percent of America's school-aged children are enrolled in school. Aside from the time spent at home, schools are the places where children spend most of their time. Most experts—supported by many research studies—agree that physical activity improves children's health. Yet, most children don't get enough physical activity during the course of their days. Due to shrinking budgets and pressures to improve academic test scores, formal physical education (PE) has been substantially reduced in most of Oregon’s Elementary Schools. We surveyed 384 elementary schools in Oregon to assess the average number of PE classes per week and the length of these PE classes.
Most of the elementary schools offer 2 PE classes of 30 minutes per week, in addition to morning and lunch-time recess. Combined recess times vary from 15 minutes to 60 minutes per day with the majority of recess times between 20 and 45 minutes. The evidence of several controlled trials showed that substituting PE with additional instructional classroom time did not improve academic performance. In contrast, many studies found that regular participation in physical activity is associated with improved academic performance. A study conducted among 243 students from kindergarten through grade four found that students' on-task behavior increased significantly on the days with physical activity breaks. Other studies also showed that regular physical activity breaks enhanced academic performance, academic focus, and classroom behavior.*
To provide children with more activity breaks during their school day, we recruited sports exercise and media students from Oregon State University to produce an exercise DVD called Brain Breaks: Classroom Fitness for Children. The short segments of physical activity breaks in the DVD are demonstrated by OSU sports exercise students, OSU student athletes, and local school children. They can all be done in a classroom setting. All the segments were filmed in the KVBR Studio, a student-run television station on the Oregon State University campus. They include include stretching and flexibility, strengthening and aerobic moves such as jumping in place.
*Active Education. Physical Education, Physical Activity and Academic Performance. Active Living Research. Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity and Support Active Communities. Research Brief Summer 2009. Retrieved from www.activelivingresearch.org.