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4 Ways To Bring Exercise Into The Classroom

teaching-tipsClassroom exercise can be a source of joy for both students and teachers, but to fit exercise into an already stressed schedule, it needs to have clear objectives and measurable results.

Many teachers feel uncomfortable about implementing an exercise program because they don't have confidence in their own knowledge and skills.

With that said, the benefits far outweigh the challenges—the trick is to find the right program that works for you and your classroom.

Let's start off by looking at the benefits of classroom exercise.

We've all heard about the epidemic of obesity. Besides just the physical and social problems of overweight children, there are significant learning challenges as well. Exercise helps stimulate the mind as it stimulates the body. Short sessions of physical activity will improve alertness, focus attention and raise self-esteem. These benefits are good for all students! The challenge is to develop a program that you can do easily in the classroom and meets your comfort level as an instructor.

Here are four ideas for bringing exercise into the classroom:


Yoga is a wonderful exercise program. People who aren't familiar with yoga can still introduce it to students at a basic level. Even at an introductory level, it produces excellent results in the right classroom environment.

If you ever feel your class is too rambunctious or distracted, turn to yoga as a way to increase attention and build calmness. You don't need a lot of space or any extra supplies. Start each session with breathing exercises and stretches that help children build an awareness of their body while focusing their attention. Once they reach a calm mental place, they can start recreating the yoga poses.

Large visual examples of the yoga poses will show students the form and are easily placed around the classroom. Consider a colour coded system for easy, medium and hard; students will naturally want to challenge themselves. (Editor's Note: You can acquire a yoga kit from Roylco at the Scholar’s Choice web store.)

Each session should be 10-20 minutes long. When your students have become skillful with the poses, let them create their own routines. After each session, you should see results. Your students should be calmer, focused, and invigorated.

Although it's great to have a routine time of day for your exercise sessions, try different times so you can evaluate what works best. Some teachers find mid-morning or mid-afternoon the best time to use yoga to reinvigorate their students. Other teachers use it to start the day and some have second sessions right before tests or assemblies to help their students' sharpen their focus.


Although yoga is a great exercise activity that doesn't need a lot of space or any extra supplies, it is not your only option. The key is to get kids moving. Try getting their heart thumping and their mind racing by assuming animal poses and carrying out the action of that animal. Students can flap their arms to represent a bird or jump like a frog. You and your students can have a lot of fun with this exercise!


If you are looking for something to really inspire mental well-being, laughter is the best medicine. Encourage them to be silly while playing a CD filled with music featuring human laughter. Laughter builds core strength while producing endorphins. Just think how wonderful 15 minutes of hilarious activities on a dreary day can be! You and your students will end the session refreshed, appreciative, and ready to learn.


If time is tight but you still want to integrate a physical activity program, combine it with another subject area. Teach letter recognition by having students pose to resemble letters. Once children learn how to make each of the letter shapes with their bodies, start spelling with the students' whole bodies! It's fun and perfect for kinesthetic learners.

Exercise has many benefits beyond controlling weight. In the classroom, it can help focus the mind, increase self-discipline and promote higher self-esteem. By conducting short, daily exercise routines, you’ll enjoy this time with your students. It can be a wonderful bonding experience!

I'd like to now hear from you - Do you have any tips to bring exercise into the classroom? Share your ideas below!

Posted by Peter Nosalik in Teacher, General ← Previous Post Next Post →

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