Want straight A's? Give 'em more recess!

Mary Hasson

“So what’s your favorite subject?” 

“Recess. Or Gym.”

Sound familiar? It turns out the kids are onto something. A new study shows kids who get out and move, run, or do other physical activity in the course of the school day focus better, test higher, and learn better: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-04-14-letsmoveinschool15_ST_N.htm

Exercise and sports build character (see my previous column, “Are We Raising Soft Kids?”). But now we know that it boosts brain power as well. Even short bursts of activity (five or ten minutes, perhaps as a transition from one subject to another), get the blood moving to the brain and increase a child’s focus and concentration.  Schools that provide longer recess or extra physical activities not only see their students’ grades and test scores improve (especially for girls), the children behave better too.

In addition, students who participate in after-school sports teams or physical activities get better grades and are more likely to graduate.  Interestingly, the study’s authors note that Asian elementary school students, who routinely outscore their American counterparts in most subjects, enjoy a 10-minute break after each 50 minutes of class time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed 50 previous studies for this research.  Their recommendation:  children should spend at least 60 minutes in daily physical activity, thirty minutes of it within the school day.

The study certainly squares with my experience.  In our homeschooling days, I often sent my rambunctious boys to run laps around the cul de sac in between subjects.  And both my boys and my girls seemed to buckle down better after a mid-morning game of street hockey.  I remember chafing as a “school-kid” at the hours on end spent sitting at my desk, writing, reading, and, yes, doodling.  So, I was a pushover when my kids begged for sports breaks, promising that they’d come back in ready to work even harder.  They usually did.

It’s nice when science backs up mother’s intuition.  Send those kids out to play!

Topics: Culture , Education , Health , Parenting

Mary Rice Hasson, the mother of seven, is a Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C. She blogs at wordsfromcana.

View all articles by Mary Hasson

Ads by Google
(What's this?)


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google



Abortion (51)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (3)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (18)  Church teaching (35)  Contraception (28)  Culture (124)  Current Events (102)  Dating (15)  Death (7)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (14)  Eucharist (4)  Exercise (3)  Faith (231)  Family (95)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (14)  Fertility (4)  Fitness (1)  Food (3)  Forgiveness (19)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (3)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (15)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (13)  Liturgical Year (11)  Marian devotion (9)  Marriage (38)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (3)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (6)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (61)  Movies (2)  Music (5)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (46)  Personal Growth (107)  Politics (5)  Pope Francis (6)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (35)  Pro-Life (29)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (10)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (11)  Religious Vocation (1)  Saints (17)  Scripture (7)  Service (8)  Sexuality (20)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (3)  Suffering (15)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  United Nations (1)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (7)  Women's Health (21)  Workplace (13)  Writings of the Saints (12)  Young Women (41) 


Liturgical Calendar

January 25, 2015

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 1:14-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 1:14-20

Text only

Follow us: