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PowerUp Body and Brain!

Fueling the mind body connection for a classroom boost!

As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “…physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.”

PowerUp Fitness offers a variety of unique fitness programs! PowerUp programs are designed to provide children with the opportunity to become more active, physically and mentally. Learn more about us and our mission to PowerUp children's development with fitness and fun in our About Section!

There are many positive effects on the brain that come from physical activity. These include, but are not limited to, increased oxygen flow to the brain, increased number of brain neurotransmitters, and increased brain neurotrophins which are the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. It has been scientifically proven that immediately after physical activity, children’s brains work faster and better than those who have been sitting still for an extended period of time.

Looking for a quick and easy classroom break to get your kids moving? Try PowerUp’s Race in Place activity. It is perfect for small spaces and involves your current classroom curriculum.

Race in Place

Participants will run in place as fast as they can for a certain amount of time or while spelling a word, solving a math problem, etc! It can also be performed while seated in chairs.

Another way to switch up this exercise and keep the kids on their toes is to switch between the commands: slow, medium and fast. This will keep kids waiting for the change in speeds and keep their attention on you.

Exercise not only helps the brain get ready to learn, but it also makes retaining information easier. Dr. John J. Ratey writes “that exercise improves learning on three levels: "First, it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention, and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information; and third, it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus." Exercise triggers the specific places in your brain that help you remember things better. So engaging in physical breaks in the classroom ultimately improves memory in the classroom.

Try these 2 crossbody exercises as a physical break in your classrooms!

Body Cross Behind - See it in action here: Body Cross Behind

Stand up straight, feet about hip-width apart. Bend left knee, bringing left heel toward bottom. Reach right hand behind your back, to touch left toe. Return to start

position, then switch sides. Bring right heel toward bottom, reach left hand behind back to touch right toe. Continue switching sides, making sure your hand touches the opposite foot behind your body. Keep alternating to complete 10 on each side for a total of 20 reps!

Body Cross Front - Check out the video here: Body Cross In-front

Stand up straight, feet about hip-width apart. Bend left knee bringing knee toward chest. Reach right elbow to touch left knee. Return to starting position. Switch legs. Bring right knee toward chest, reach left elbow toward right knee. Continue switching sides, making sure your elbow touches the opposite knee. Keep alternating to complete 10 on each side for a total of 20 reps!


Download this printable pdf version of PowerUp Body and Brain!

Did you enjoy these activities? Take a look at our activity bundles or even request sample lesson plans to learn more!

For 100’s of activities, games, and exercises that can be implemented in-person, virtually or at home, check out our PowerUp programs!


PowerUp Fitness is an Advocate Member of the National Afterschool Association and a proud partner of Active Schools.


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