Throughout our lives we are constantly reminded of the importance of physical activity. The common misconception surrounding exercise, in some school settings, is that it can improve cognition. This is a somewhat grey area, with studies showing improvements (John Ratey – https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Spark.html?id=zM_9Ft1j40UC&redir_esc=y) and others showing no effect on cognitive performance (Institute for Effective Education – https://www.beib.org.uk/2019/05/does-exercise-improve-childrens-cognitive-performance/).
However, the research surrounding the benefits of exercise on health is unparalleled. Physical exercise can improve heart function, the efficiency of body systems, increase stroke volume, prevent obesity, release the feel-good hormone (serotonin), the ability to control emotions, develop teamwork and co-operation skills, provide opportunities to socialise and reduce the risk of some illnesses such as diabetes. https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/keeping-active/health-benefits
As we find ourselves in these unprecedented times the importance of being physically active has not been forgotten. However, in our virtual school settings the time spent on physical activity is at best, variable across the country. Some children are taking part now more than ever, some are doing minimal amounts and some are not engaging whatsoever. Some children used to walk to and from school on average for 25 minutes each way https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/476635/travel-to-school.pdf When at school children needed to move from classroom to classroom, walk to seating areas or the canteen for breaks, have 2 hours of PE lessons a week, walk home again and some attended extra-curricular sports clubs at lunchtime and/or after school. All of which are not occurring at present. This is an area that needs to be addressed. In the video below Louise Wallis-Tayler a PE teacher from Durrington High School outlines how children can remain physically active from home. In the video Louise reminds the students how much physical activity they should be doing, the benefits of exercise on their health and gives some ideas on how to remain active at home throughout this difficult time. https://www.loom.com/share/ba05f372b1bf4692960f8e52da803e1c
James Crane, Deputy Leader of Physical Education and Dance, Research School Associate, Durrington Research School