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Active Kids Means Smart Kids

August 28, 2014, 6:19 PM by Brittany Larson

Active Kids Means Smart Kids
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

In a fun game of "Four-Square," these Harvey Dunn Elementary students can reap the benefits of physical activity throughout the school day. 

"It clears your mind so when you go back in the school year, you are ready to learn and stuff," fifth grader Connor Denevan said.

He's right. New research shows kids with good motor skills also get good grades and have a higher level of overall academic performance.

"A lot of times they can go back into the classroom and they are more eager to learn you know and they kind of settled down a bit," John Rodman, Physical Education Teacher at Harvey Dunn, said.

Denevan is an active fifth grader that likes to play sports for many reasons.

"I do soccer and that kind of stuff gets the heart rate up and does good for the body," Denevan said.

At Harvey Dunn Elementary School, students kindergarten through fifth grade take two gym classes for 35 minutes each, twice a week. The goal is to make sure they stay focused not only in the gym class, but also in the classroom.

"It's kind of like miracle grow for the brain is what it is. It gets the brain functioning and growing and able to think clearer and learn better," Rodman said.

Doctors agree that physical activity can help kids learn more effectively in school.

"Being more physically active is always going to be more advantageous just for your general health. I can't say that we always see in the clinic a direct correlation with that because it's hard to know active they are and how well they actually do in school, but definitely there's a mind-body connection and being more active is good for your brain," Sanford Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Thompson said.

Thompson says kids should be encouraged to be active outside of school as well.

"The other thing that's important is being active at home with the family because I think school is one place to have physical activity, but I think when they get home from school, it's good to go for a walk and on the weekends to be doing things that are active," Thompson said.

"They teach you about like stuff that does your body good like eating healthy snacks and stuff so you come back out here and do physical exercise and then you go back in and you're ready to learn," Denevan said.

Good tips to kick off another successful school year.

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