When in Doubt, Move About
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Doesn’t it feel good to move? After sitting for a long period of time, doesn’t it feel nice to stand up and stretch your arms over your head or bend forward to stretch your back? Movement is an important aspect of life and is needed for our everyday health both physically and mentally.
During this time of distancing ourselves from others, it could be easy to slip into the idleness associated with staying at home. Still, there are several activities families can do right in their home to stay active. One suggestion is to take a learning break by dancing to a favorite song or have a cleanup race to see how many things kids can put up in 5 minutes. There are even simple printable workout games that you can do with your children online. I am including one in the resources below.
Additionally, The 4-H Health Rocks curriculum offers a beginner lesson about breathing and stretching for relaxation with a 4-H Pledge Yoga sequence from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension. It’s a helpful guide to learn basic yoga poses and the 4-H pledge. Yoga has the benefit of teaching mindfulness that helps in centering the mind and body to stay mentally healthy.
For youth, movement is especially important for brain development and learning capabilities. “Studies show that children who are more active exhibit better focus, faster cognitive processing, and more successful memory retention than kids who spend the day sitting still” (Learning in Motion: Bring Back Movement to the Classroom.) Incorporating movement throughout the day can help break up those learning activities to recharge and refocus the brain.
Another suggestion to incorporate movement into your daily routine is to use Brain Gym®. The Brain Gym® program, developed by Dr. Paul Dennison, is a group of 26 activities or stretches that “address balance, posture, and coordination skills associated with daily life success”. It also helps “synchronize your system for better comprehension, focus, organization, communication, and emotional health.” (About Brain Gym®). These moves are great for people of all ages and easy to do. I’ve included resources about the program in the Resource section below.
So the next time people find themselves looking for ways to move around while at home, they can try dancing to a favorite song, do a few yoga moves, or try Brain Gym®. It can help those of all ages feel energized and alert.
Brain Gym: Simple Brain Gym Exercises to Awaken the Brain for Learning Readiness
Learning in Motion: Bring Movement Back to the Classroom
The Essential Role of Movement in Learning
Yoga for Kids 4-H Pledge Handout
4-H Ritual and Pledge- Yoga for Kids Video Tutorial