Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 1.07.30 PMI love to “bust a move”–dancing always lifts my spirits and energizes me and now there’s research backing up why you may want to incorporate more fun movement into your lessons.  Dr. Laura Chaddock-Heyman, research scientist at the University of Illinois-Champaign, specializes in how exercise and fitness relate to the developing brains of children. Her research is ground-breaking because in addition to looking at the academic performance and cognitive ability of children, she has used functional MRI (fMRI) to look at how physical activity changes the structure, communication, and neural functions of kids’ brains. According to Chaddock-Heyman’s research, physical activity actually causes the brain to light up differently when looking at fit vs. unfit kids.

Recently when I was in Nashville for Learning Forward I attended a workshop led by Engaging Schools where they urged teachers to have students move at least 10 feet for 90 seconds every 30 minutes, doing this helps  students’ brains to function more efficiently, leading to improvements in focus, cognitive control, and performance.

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