The play’s the thing: Study finds recess is better than gym

Study finds recess is better than gym

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Once again, scientific analysis has confirmed that Grandma was right: Sending the kids outside to play — or, as she’d put it, to get the stink blown off — is an ideal way for them to get the exercise they need for healthy living.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis studied 106 students in grades two through five at an urban elementary school in St. Louis. The children wore pedometers to measure the number of steps they took and that also kept track of when they engaged in moderately vigorous activity.

The results, published last month in Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that “the greatest quantity and intensity of physical activity” was achieved during outdoor recess, not during indoor gym classes. On average, girls took 41 percent more steps at recess than gym, and boys took 55 percent more.

Given that far too few children are getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day, incorporating recess into the school day just may provide the solution.

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