Saturday, January 15, 2011

Staying active while learning from home: physically and mentally

Student's learning is sometimes quantified or counted by a measure called "seat-time." While there are some learning activities that require seated, quiet and focused attention, there are others that can be incorporated into active activities!

Over the years, many researchers have investigate the connection between learning and being physically active. They have found that the more physically active you are, the better you can learn. You can read just a couple of articles about it here, here and here.

Schooling and working from home can sometimes put us in danger for feeling isolated, dull and not being as active as we should be. However, there are SO many ways for you to incorporate some active learning ideas and just plain physical activity in your day to keep you both mentally active and physically active!!

In this article from, the author addresses the idea that we not only need to incorporate 30-60 minute periods of vigorous activity into our week, but also that we need to stand up more often. I have no idea if that is true, however, I plan to incorporate more standing into my day by purchasing a "standing desk" for my laptop!!

Get creative to add more standing time into your day. Here are a couple of ideas:
  1. Call a teacher rather than write a lengthy k-mail. Then, you are free to stand or walk as you talk on the phone.
  2. Perhaps a friend or family member would help you review for a test as you go for a walk or hike.
  3. Take breaks during the day to incorporate physical activity. Get outside, skateboard, hike, walk, run, play a sport, or even do some chores!
  4. Use a smaller water bottle! I use a Nalgene bottle for my water. (BPA free, of course). However, I am thinking about getting a small water bottle that I need to refill often so that I need to walk to the sink several times per day. That would be a very simple way to incorporate more standing and walking into your day.
  5. Find a high and stable place for your computer screen so that you can stand during ClassConnects, just be sure that you don't wander off!
  6. After a stretch of sitting at your computer, get up and stretch, do some jumping jacks or push ups. Something to get your blood, and your mind, pumping again!
  7. Have a mini dance party at your house between subjects. Turn on your favorite tunes and get moving!
As many high school student lose access to physical activity during their school day leaving them at higher risk for depression, obesity and type 2 diabetes, online students and teachers have the advantage of being able to incorporate LOTS more movement and exercise into their day! Increasing movement and exercise will help you lean better, help you focus and aid you in getting a good night's sleep.
Remember, your mind is an organ like all others in that it need oxygenated blood to function properly. Integrating more physical activities (both heart pumping and not) into your day could not only improve your physical health, but can help you learn better and have a more fulfilling day!
Please comment and let me know how YOU incorporated movement and exercise (or even standing) into your school day!

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