I was exhausted when I got home from work today. My eyes shut involuntarily during dinner, and I even catnapped on the couch afterward while the kids watched TV. I managed to rouse myself enough to get them bathed and ready for bed, but even after they were tucked in, it was a chore to drag myself back downstairs.
Since finishing physical therapy for hip surgery, I’ve returned to a regular schedule of running and weightlifting. Today was a planned workout day, but I was just not feeling it. It took every ounce of motivation and willpower I had to get myself changed and down to the basement to my weights, but once I got started, I felt good – revived, refreshed, and much more mentally alert and sharp than I was three hours before.
In between sets, I got to thinking about how much sitting kids do in school, and how necessary physical activity is to the ability to maintain attention and focus. This is not limited just to physical education and recess, but also during those long stretches of time spent seated in the classroom. Any opportunity to get up and move, whether it’s part of a structured activity, built into a workshop-style class environment, or even just the individual option to stand when one needs to be at a desk can be beneficial.
Here’s a dirty secret of mine: after I’ve written a psychological evaluation report (typically 7-9 pages in length), I print it out and pace around my office while I read it out loud. The combination of reading aloud and physical movement never fails to help me to pick up typos or odd phrasings that I completely overlooked on the screen, and I’m not alone in this.
It’s just something to remember, regardless of the capacity in which you work with kids. I wonder how many “behavior problems” could be avoided or minimized if more opportunities for physical activity and movement were built into the school day.
And we want to eliminate PE and recess why?