In the News

This page offers links to relevant news stories about classroom physical activity, school-based physical activity, and youth activity and fitness.

Stowe Today News & Citizen: More playtime equals more learning (Jan. 18, 2018)

At a school in Vermont, a new initiative called Get Up and Move is “jumpstarting brains” to improve learning preparedness among students. The program started with 16 students and is now up to over 40. Creators hope to expand both time spent in activity and number of students involved. Link to article

Mankato Free Press: St. Peter elementary school gets creative to get students moving more (Jan. 14, 2018)

“For 20 minutes every afternoon the St. Peter area second, third and fourth-graders take a break from their studies to get their bodies moving.” The program, being called Take 20, rotates students through five activity stations throughout the week. While it does take time away from academics, staff praise the multi-dimenstional benefits of activity, including an increase in learning preparedness. Link to article

HealthDay News: Exercise boosts kids’ brain health, too (Jan. 5, 2018)

Findings from a research study are applied in this article, highlighting the cognitive and academic benefits of physical activity for children. “Active children do better in class and on tests because exercise seems to lead to larger brain volumes in areas associated with memory and thinking functions, such as behavior and decision-making. Active kids also appear to have better concentration and longer attention spans…” Link to story
While implying the study is recent, this article appears to be citing a monograph published in 2014.

Reuters: Kinds who get moving may also get better grades (Dec. 8, 2017)

“At a time when many schools struggle to set aside time for gym classes amid a push to raise test scores by devoting more time to academics, [findings from a new research study] offer fresh evidence that physical activity is one way to help boost kids’ grades.” Link to story

Star Tribute: Exercise improves test scores, study of Minnesota students finds (Dec. 6, 2017)

“It’s no secret that physically active kids are healthier, but a state study released Wednesday found that they also do better on reading and writing, and even school attendance.” This article shares how 14 schools implemented physical activity programs as a result of a grant, and the results after a three-year period. Link to story

U.S. News: Oklahoma elementary school brings exercise to classrooms (Dec. 4, 2017)

At Lake Park Elementary school in Putnam City school, there is a classroom that “is arranged into dozens of stations, each with a dedicated physical activity designed to stimulate brain activity and mesh physical and mental exercise.” Link to story

Miami Herald: Get your children moving – it may just improve their grades (Nov. 14, 2017)

In support of increasing physical activity in children, this article provides a summary of the benefits and targets the association between activity and academic performance. The conclusion highlights activity as a way to enhance the overall health and happiness of children. Link to story

District Administration Magazine: Lawmakers requiring more recess in schools (Oct. 25, 2017)

This article takes a look at recess trends in the U.S. and the concept of free play. Link to story

TIME: Is recess important for kids or a waste of time? Here’s what the research says (Oct. 23, 2017)

This article (with a two minutes video!) highlights associations between recess and academic performance and classroom behavior – so say yes to recess. Link to story

Sonoma Index-Tribune: Sonoma students start the day with movement (Oct. 2, 2017)

This California elementary school becomes the latest school to be “in motion” using the My School in Motion program. Students spend the first 15 minutes of their school day engaged in physical activity. Link to story

Las Cruces Sun-News: How physical activity can boost young minds (Sept. 23, 2017)

This article provides an overview of the benefits of physical activity in elementary schools and explains that “Las Cruces Public Schools is working hard to provide more healthy opportunities for children by providing all activity equipment for each interested school to host healthy celebrations” as a way to increase student activity levels. Link to story

Spartanburg Herald Journal: Schools try balancing learning with play (Sept. 17, 2017)

“Schools across the country and the Upstate are working to get students more active as a growing body of research shows it boosts their academic performance.” Link to story

The Sydney Morning Herald: Physical activity is as important as literacy and numeracy, says leading academic (Sept. 10, 2017)

At this school in Australia, students have the opportunity to engage in physical activity at least once per hour. “The school-wide approach is being led by the physical education department, which has been trying to educate teachers in all subject areas on the importance of movement for children’s overall development.” Link to story

SHAPE America: Students in Baton Rouge elementary school get a “jump” start on learning (2017 case study)

In this Louisiana elementary school, the PE teacher engages students in physical movement before the school day in the interim between drop off and commencement of the first academic period. Teachers report positive results of this programming – students are more prepared to learn than they were when this interim period was used for quiet reading. Link to PDF story

Runner’s World: Standing all day is twice as bad as sitting for your heart (August 24, 2017)

Highlighting the “pendulum” of health advice, this article shares research in response to the recent evidence and news about the dangers of sitting. Here, the detrimental aspects of being on your feet all day long are discussed. The author proposes the ‘truth’ is likely somewhere in the middle, supporting the accuracy of the often used phrased “everything in moderation”. Link to story

Romper: Here are all the things that happen to kids when they don’t get recess (July 27, 2017)

By presenting results from several studies regarding the impact of recess cuts, this article presents the need for physical activity in non-scientific terms, which continues to bring the “recess issue” into mainstream conversation. Link to story

Loughborough University News: Daily movement programme has positive impact on children’s learning (July 5, 2017)

Researchers from this university in the UK created ‘Movement for Learning’, a daily opportunity for students to engage in gross and fine motor skills. Preliminary results suggest an improved readiness for school and learning preparedness. Link to story Philly doctors are now prescribing park visits to city kids (July 5, 2017)

This article provides an interesting approach that promotes the recommendation of 60 minutes per day in outdoor play, extending the recommendation for physical activity to specify an outdoor location. Link to story

The Advocate: School recess time is not as common as it used to be in Louisiana; here’s why (June 25, 2017)

This article discusses the issue of recess, and time allotted to physical activity in schools, from different perspectives at the state and local level. It provides some research background on the need for children to engage in activity, and offers data on state, national, and international recess and activity minutes. Link to story

City of Fort Worth News: Seven Fort Worth elementary school receive funding to create safer routes for pedestrians, cyclists (June 23, 2017)

Active transportation to and from school is an important component in a comprehensive school physical activity plan. This article overviews funding received by schools as part of the Safe Routes to School project. Link to story

The Sacramento Bee: Why it’s so bad that children get too much homework, not enough exercise (June 21, 2017)

This opinion piece supports the need for more activity, less sitting in school because childhood is the best time to build bone mass to decrease the likelihood of osteoporosis in older adulthood. Link to story

Medical News Today: Teens get as much physical activity as 60-year-olds, study shows (June 19, 2017)

“Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for many serious conditions. The fact that neither adults nor teenagers get as much exercise as they should is, perhaps, not very surprising. But new research shows that the situation might be a lot more worrying than previously believed.” Link to story

The New York Times Magazine: Losing fact, gaining brain power, on the playground (June 16, 2017)

Results of an active after school program where children played tag and other games show an increase in cognitive functioning. Link to story

Chalkbeat: Can more movement and computers help turn around this struggling school? The principal thinks so. (June 14, 2017)

This story shares how one elementary school in Indianapolis is trying innovative methods for student engagement. Link to story

Boston Globe: More towns tell students: It’s time to play (Apr. 12, 2017)

“Elementary school students in Medway are now spending an extra 10 minutes a day outside for recess, a move parents and school officials hope will lead to improved social and emotional growth.” Link to story

Oregon State University: Adolescents with frequent PE more fit, more informed about physical activity’s role in health (Apr. 12, 2017)

This article shares findings about the impact of PE and the implications of lack of awareness about physical activity guidelines. Link to story

OPB: Oregon lawmakers consider bill to delay, relax physical education requirements (Apr. 11, 2017)

In 2007, policy was enacted in Oregon to require that all schools engage students in a minimum amount of physical education as of next fall. Yet, even with a decade to plan, many districts are still unprepared to offer the required PE. Link to story

The Conversation: We asked children why they don’t get enough exercise – here’s what they said (Apr. 6, 2017)

This article shares results of a study that asked children about barriers to physical activity – and found that screen time and hectic schedules are the two main reasons for a lack of activity engagement. Based upon these barriers, suggestions to help increase physical activity in children are offered. Link to story

Edutopia: No grade is too early for flexible seating (Apr. 3, 2017)

From kindergarten through college, flexible seating can work with your learning environment to enhance student learning. Link to story

The New York Times: Why kids shouldn’t sit still in class (Mar. 21, 2017)

This article provides a nice overview on the need to increase movement during classroom time to benefit health and learning, citing several professional experts. Link to story

Chalkbeat: Tennessee lawmakers revise school recess law to strike the right balance on playtime (Mar. 20, 2017)

In a follow-up from the article of Feb. 15, this story shares the outcome of Tennessee’s Senate vote on the recess policy. Recess minutes are still mandated, but teachers will now have more autonomy on implementation. Link to story

KATU2: PPS expects to make big cuts to physical education next school year (Mar. 19, 2017)

In Portland Public Schools in Oregon, massive budget cuts are expected to impact physical education opportunities for students. Link to story

MarketWired via Cook Children’s: In-classroom physical activity studies show reading scores are up, BMI is down (Feb. 28, 2017)

This article provides recent results of a study using GoNoodle: “Kids playing GoNoodle scored 23 percent better in reading skills; 13 percent improvement in normal weight (measured by BMI) among kids playing GoNoodle in Ft. Worth, TX.” Link to story

CBS46 News: Lawmaker wants to mandate recess in Georgia schools (Feb. 27, 2017)

Legislation on recess has become a ‘hot topic’ recently and this news story explains how one representative is pushing for a policy to make recess, currently an optional event in Georgia, mandatory across the state. Link to story

WCIA3/Illinois homepage: Military weighs in on reduced PE requirements (Feb. 22, 2017)

This interesting news video, and corresponding story, offers a military perspective on a potential reduction in mandated physical education in Illinois. Link to story

NY1: Olympic Silver ovingedalist Wants to Bring Fencing to Underserved City Schools (Feb. 17, 2017)

“Now in its fifth year — and providing programs for 10 New York City schools this year — Fencing in the Schools trains physical education teachers in the sport…” Link to story

Chalkbeat: Tennessee required more recess, but teachers now say it’s too much (Feb. 15, 2017)

Tennessee was in the news in 2016 as a progressive state recognizing the importance of physical activity at school in policy. This article presents an updated legislative perspective on amendments to previously passed recess policy. “Physical activity is so important for the kids, and we definitely want that…But at the same time, we have to protect instructional time, too.” Link to story

The University of Kansas: Study upsets beliefs about feelings and exercise probability (Feb. 13, 2017)

“A pilot study tracking adolescents’ internal psychological states around engaging in physical activity suggests that prevailing assumptions about how to increase physical activity might need a reboot.” Link to story
*Alternate article about study from PsychCentral: What motivates teens to exercise? Link to story

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel: Marietta’s Ewing School gets kids into shape with yoga (Feb. 13, 2017)

This story shares how an elementary school in West Virginia engages students in movement while watching a movie projected on a large screen. ““A lot of people boo-hoo technology for keeping kids glued to the TV but this is opening up a whole world of dance, rhythm and activity.” Anecdotal results suggest kids are also moving more at home, and enjoying the physical activity. Link to story

Parade Magazine: 19 simple ways to think faster (Feb. 3, 3017)

“Wouldn’t it be terrific to be able to make great decisions in a snap? You can start thinking faster and more effectively immediately with one step: Get moving.” Link to story
*Same but different article: 12 ways to think faster (Feb. 5, 2017) Link to story

Fox 25 WFXT: School recess helps kids get a leg up on life, new report says (Feb. 2, 2017)

“Recess is more than just a break in the school day. It’s a crucial part of students’ development and helps children get a head start on staying active for life, according to researchers.” Link to story

ScaryMommy: Texas school triples recess time and sees immediate positive results in kids (n.d.)

This commentary offers insight into the anecdotal results of offering students four recesses per day. Link to story

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: CDC joins health educators to expand and enhance recess for all students (Feb. 2, 2017)

“Only eight states in the country require recess for students during the school day, prompting SHAPE America to team up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to advocate for recess for students in all grades, deeming it a ‘critical’ part of the school day.” Link to story

Runner’s World: So simple it’s brilliant: Schools worldwide buy into “The Daily Mile” (Dec. 15, 2016)

“The idea was to improve fitness and social and emotional health, and to combat obesity. But equally important … was that the program be utterly simple. Fifteen minutes, outside, every day. No gym clothes, no fancy facility, no competition, no rigid schedule, no additional staff, no cost.” Link to story

Health Day: 9 of 10 U.S. teens don’t get enough exercise (Sept. 26, 2016)

“Over 90 percent of U.S. high school students don’t get enough exercise to stay fit and healthy, and the pattern persists after they graduate, a new study finds.” Link to story

Chalkbeat: Reading, writing and aerobics: How a popular Indy school uses movement to help kids learn (September 26, 2016)

In this SUPER school in Indianapolis, “nearly every class … has physical activity built into the day, with students walking, dancing and stomping as they study English, math and history.” Link to story

K-12 Tech Decisions: Standing desks at school could be the cure to childhood obesity (September 19, 2016)

And even more press for standing desks in elementary schools (see previous links below). This commentary offers an interesting editorial about the concept and the data. Link to story

Fox News Health/Reuters: Classroom standing desks may help kids slim down (September 6, 2016)

More press for the study on standing desks in elementary classrooms! This article highlights that standing desks can decrease sedentary behavior among students during school without detracting from academic class time. Link to story

Houston Chronicle: Texas A&M study recommends ‘standing desks’ in elementary schools citing health benefits (August 24, 2016)

The article from Texas A&M Today (see below) was picked up by the Houston Chronicle, further publicizing the study about standing desks in elementary classrooms. Link to story

Texas A&M Today: Standing desks lead to improved BMI in children (August 23, 2016)

“Research around the world has shown that standing desks are positive for the teachers in terms of classroom management and student engagement, as well as positive for the children for their health, cognitive functioning and academic achievement.” – Mark Benden, PhD Link to story

Harvard Health Publications: Can exercise help relieve teen depression? (August 10, 2016)

One of the many health benefits of exercise is as a mood booster, and research has supported physical activity as a “prescription” to aid depression in adults. This blog offers preliminary evidence that exercise may decrease depression in teenagers, as well, particularly when used in conjunction with other treatment strategies. Link to story

Drs. Oz and Roizen: Boost your brainpower by getting moving (July 16, 2016)

This article, syndicated and available via multiple news outlets, is targeting older adults, rather than youth. However, the points are applicable as they explain why “Exercise is good for your brain, for a ton of reasons.” Link to story

WJHL News: Local school systems preparing for new TN physical activity requirements (June 2, 2016)

This article discusses potential challenges to achieving the new physical activity requirement during the school day, but provides support for the necessity of the mandate. The Tennessee Department of Education cites numerous studies that link physical activity with cognition and academic performance. Link to story

WBBJ News: Physical activity requirements changing for grades K-6 (May 11, 2016)

The state of Tennessee will increase their minimum physical activity requirements from 90 minutes per week to 160-225 minutes per week on July 1. In the article, Stuart Hirstein is quoted: “When you think about educating the whole child, movement and exercise must be considered a vital part of any program.” Link to story

District Administration Magazine: Schools form a circus of trust (May 2016)

The Circus Project, in Portland, Oregon, offers students the opportunity to be physically active while learning to communicate and increasing self-confidence. Link to story

KXAN: School uses yoga-like exercises to help with STAAR test scores (March 28, 2016)

Mindful Classrooms, a classroom-based stretching and breathing program created by James Butler, is in place in 50 schools.  Teachers report that students enjoy the activities and that there is an associated improvement in standardized test performance.  Link to story

Sport New Zealand: A fresh approach to PE and sport in schools and communities (March 10, 2016)

This article describes a new initiative in New Zealand to promote quality PE and sport involvement in schools using a physical literacy approach.  Link to story

The Washington Post: Is more physical education at school linked to higher student math scores? (February 9, 2016)

“The amount of time students spend doing physical activity in school appears to be linked to higher standardized math scores in D.C. schools, according to a new American University study that examined the success of the city’s Healthy Schools Act and found that schools offering more physical activity had significantly better math success.” Link to story

Lancaster Online: Let the kids play (January 18, 2016)

This editorial promotes recess, and physical education classes, for students across elementary, middle, and high schools, pointing to recent recommendations, research, and statistics for support. Link to story

TODAY: Welcome to the school where kids have recess 4 times a day (January 18, 2016)

The four recesses per day story (Jan. 8) is picked up and covered on the TODAY show. Link to video

Science Alert: Standing up at school improves students’ cognitive performance, study finds (January 15, 2016)

Results from a pilot research study show that high school students demonstrated improved executive function and working memory capabilities when using standing desks, compared to traditional seated desks, during the school day. Link to story

Texas A&M Today reported on this study, as well. (January 14, 2016) Link to story

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: New Fulton program aims to get students more active in school (January 14, 2016)

While the program described in this new story targets PE as the avenue through which students can gain more activity at school, any school-based physical activity interventions are noteworthy. Link to story

BU Today: Moving to Improve: Active “brain breaks” get kids moving—and help them learn (January 11, 2016)

This article is an excellent overview of the need for movement in the general education classroom. Link to story
*This program also made news in the summer of 2015. See below.

TODAY: Want kids to listen more, fidget less? Try more recess… this school did (January 8, 2016)

Kindergarteners and first graders in Fort Worth, TX, are getting four recess breaks every day, for a total of 60 minutes of recess.  Teachers, while initially hesitant about the new system, now report that students are more focused in class. Link to story

Hawaii Reporter: Squeezing bursts of activity into the school day (January 6, 2016)

“Despite schedule and funding constrictions, a Honolulu School is creatively finding ways to squeeze a little more fitness into the school day.” Link to story

KBTX Media: Several Bryan ISD elementary parents want changes to recess schedule (October 23, 2015)

Time for students to be active at school is critical, but scheduling that time is difficult.  This news story highlights the need for increased awareness of the benefit of physical activity throughout the school day for academic performance.  Link to story

The Washington Post: In these Charleston, S.C., schools, children are seen, and heard, and always active (October 20, 2015)

“The educational model is broken…and the key to fixing it is applying some of the most basic principles of sport and exercise.” Link to article

NowThis video: Kids are now using standing desks (October 13, 2015)

This video depicts students using standing desks in their elementary classrooms.  It includes positive feedback from students.  Link to video

The Washington Post: Why young kids need less class time — and more play time — at school (August 21, 2015)

This article offers a unique perspective on offering students more recess. “…longer time on task doesn’t equate to better results, only greater burnout.” Link to article

BU Today: Moving to Improve (Summer 2015)

“Physical activity helps kids learn, but they aren’t getting enough of it. BU is training a new generation of teachers to change that.” Link to article
*This program also made news in January of 2016. See above.

National Physical Activity Plan: Physical activity is the “best buy” for Americans (2015)

While not specific to kids, this commentary speaks to the impact of physical activity: “If physical activity were a pill every doctor would be prescribing it, every insurance company would be happy to pay for it, and every American would be taking it on a daily basis.” Link to article

The Denver Post: Schools hope grant leads to fitter, better students (July 23, 2015)

“We are just trying to provide and create opportunities for schools to embed physical activity as part of their culture…” Link to article

WDAZ: New standards for physical education in North Dakota (July 20, 2015)

While not specific to the classroom, these new standards support a school-wide culture of physical activity: “The guidelines also focus on what a student needs to learn to maintain lifelong habits for physical activity.” Link to article

The Conversation: Let children move around, stand or walk in the classroom. You’ll see the difference (July 17, 2015)

“…is it not important to teach our children how to be more active, from an early age?” Link to article

NPR: Learning to move, moving to learn: The benefits of PE (March 25, 2015)

“Our school systems capture almost every kid. That’s the system we should capitalize on.” Link to article

HNGN: Physical activity linked to academic success (February 23, 2015)

“Physical activity is increasingly more important to academic success, experts say, and that link starts at an early age.” Link to article

TODAY: Students read while riding stationary bikes (October 24, 2014)

“A North Carolina school swapped stationary bikes for desks so that kids can use all that bottled-up energy while reading instead of feeling trapped indoors.” Link to article

The Washington Post: Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today (July 8, 2014)

In this post, an occupational therapist shares her there may be a link between the increased prevalence of ADHD in children and the amount of seat time at school.  Link to article

The Washington Times: Kansas study links exercise with education success (January 30, 2014)

“A new study of Kansas elementary and middle school students found a link between physical fitness and better performance on math and reading exams.” Link to article

Huffington Post: Physical activity in schools is essential to reversing childhood obesity (October 3, 2013)

“Beyond improved health and fitness, physical activity enhances concentration and attention; it improves attendance and academic performance.” Link to article

Education Week: Institute of Medicine suggests 60 minutes of daily activity in schools (May 23, 2013)

“The institute’s recommended “whole-of-school” approach would require “all of a school’s components and resources [to] operate in a coordinated and dynamic manner” to give students the chance to engage in at least 60 minutes of daily MVPA.: Link to article

OregonLive: Oregon’s big plan for PE greatness takes a back seat (March 2, 2013)

“In some ways, the story of PE is not really about PE at all.” Link to article

TODAY Health: Smart jocks: Fit kids do better on math, reading tests (February 28, 2013)

“…children who are more physically fit tended to do better in the math and reading tests than children who were less active and heavier.” Link to article

eSchool News: ‘Physically active learning’ improves test scores, sharpens concentration (May 16, 2011)

Interspersing with quotes from teachers and students with examples and data, this articles presents high school classrooms that exemplify: “The idea is to get kids up and moving around during regular academic classes to improve their ability to concentrate.” Link to article


Leave a Comment