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Classroom Integration

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Physical Activity in the Classroom

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"To improve our brains, we have to move our bodies... Exercise involving learning a series of complex movements while coordinating one's balance have been proven to generate a greater number of connections between neurons. These connections make it easier for children of all ages to learn."

— John Ratey, Harvard Medical School

Research has shown that students who are physically active are better able to pay attention in class and, therefore, more likely to achieve academically2.


Physical activity can positively affect:

  • Blood flow and oxygen to the brain, thereby improving mental clarity.
  • The part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
  • Connections between the nerves in the brain, thereby improving attention and information processing skills.


Physical activity also:

  • Builds strong bones and muscles.
  • Decreases the likelihood of developing obesity and risk factors for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Promotes positive mental health and can reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Positively affects classroom behavior and can help youth improve their concentration and memory1.

1U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008.
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010.


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