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Good Morning, Time to Exercise
Maggie Harbison, Health and Physical Education Teacher
“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection —Plato.”
We live in a new era where structured exercise and physical activity are being placed on the back burner while more and more stress and energy is placed on school work and class loads. While an increasing number of studies show that our children need more structured exercise in the morning, more schools around America are cutting back on physical education requirements, especially at the middle and high school levels. Increased demand for AP-type classes and other electives has left schools saying it’s impossible to place any type of requirement on physical education for middle and high school students. However, one school in the suburbs of Chicago did just that more than a decade ago.
Naperville Central High School decided to start requiring physical education in the morning for every student, with struggling students required to come before school. The science determined that the mix of running and weight lifting would increase blood flow to the brain while also increasing actual brain cells. The results were indisputable. Overall GPAs started to rise as well as reading/writing scores and attendance rates. As John Ratey states in his book Spark, “the key is to exercise in the morning before the hardest classes of the day so the brain is primed and stimulated to operate at its highest possible capacity.”
Park Tudor offers strength and conditioning classes throughout the week with our professional strength and conditioning coach. These classes focus on overall strength as well as mental toughness and teamwork. Through hard work and grit we can increase our student’s muscle and brain size. It’s time to add a little spark to our student’s daily routine, especially in the morning.