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“Short Bouts of Exercise Boost Self Control” — Is That Your Experience With Students?

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Short Bouts of Exercise Boost Self Control is the title of an article about a new study.

Here’s an excerpt:

Short bouts of moderately intense exercise seem to boost self control, indicates an analysis of the published evidence in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The resulting increased blood and oxygen flow to the pre-frontal cortex may explain the effects, suggest the researchers.

They trawled medical research databases for studies looking at the impact of physical exercise on higher brain functions, such as memory, concentration, planning, and decision-making, in three groups: 6 to 12 year olds; 13 to 17 year olds; and 18 to 35 year olds.

They found 24 relevant studies published up to April 2012. Nineteen of these, involving 586 participants, addressed the impact of short bouts of exercise.

….12 of the 19 studies looked at self control, and the analysis indicated that short bouts of exercise did improve this higher brain function across all three age groups, registering a small to moderate impact.

This is particularly important for children and teens, because well developed higher brain functions are important for academic achievement and other aspect of daily life, say the authors.

“These positive effects of physical exercise on inhibition/interference control are encouraging and highly relevant, given the importance of inhibitory control and interference control in daily life,” they write.

This study has prompted me to plan to ask “sixth period” teachers of some of my ninth-grade students who happen to have P.E. during fifth period if this reflects their experiences. I know that it’s a very rough period for many of our students and teachers, but it would be interesting to see if they’ve noticed a difference among the students with P.E. immediately preceding their class. If so, this could be a pretty important scheduling issue to take into account for some of our students.

I’ve always had an International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class at the end of the day and, though I emphasize recruiting non-IB Diploma candidates to take the course, too, few of those students have self-control challenges. It’s a different story for some students I have earlier in the day, though my double-block ninth-grade class is always the first two periods of the day so I don’t know if they would be different if they had P.E. prior to entering my class.

What has been your experience with students immediately following P.E. ?

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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