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Schools should provide opportunities for 60 minutes of daily physical activity to all students
Date:5/23/2013

time engaged in vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity. But it emphasizes that physical education cannot be the sole source of physical activity; additional opportunities should exist throughout the school environment.

Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, 44 percent of school administrators have reported cutting significant time from physical education and recess to devote more time to reading and mathematics in the classroom. But a growing body of evidence suggests that increasing physical activity and fitness may improve academic performance -- especially in mathematics and reading -- and that the benefits of engaging in physical activity during the school day outweigh the benefits of exclusive use of classroom time for academic learning.

A variety of physical activities that include aerobic and resistance exercises, structured and unstructured activities, and both short and longer sessions will likely confer the greatest benefits, the report says. For example, aerobic fitness is linked to brain structure and function related to working memory and problem solving, and single bursts of activity have been shown to increase time on task and improve focus. Recess provides students the chance to refine social skills and use their imaginations.

Along with a minimum number of minutes spent in physical education classes, students should also receive frequent classroom breaks, and recess should not be taken away as punishment or replaced with additional academic instruction, the report adds. The report illustrates how scheduling physical education and recess on a daily and weekly basis can still allow for ample classroom time devoted to core subjects.

Ensuring equity in access to physical activity and physical education will require support from federal and state governments as well as state, district, and local education administrators, the report says. School systems at every level, together wi
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Contact: Lauren Rugani
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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