Fun Facts

When presenting at conferences, we use many of these statistics and "fun facts" to educate teachers, administrators, and counselors about the importance of movement. As physical educators, we should be a resource for classroom teachers to access a variety of movement activities and be able to provide them the information regarding the benefits of each movement in connection with the brain and learning.
The following random facts may surprise parents, educators, and students! Some statistics may be repetitive or not be of interest, but remember it is all in the way you present the information. Resources can be found by clicking on the "Resource page."

Brain and Science Buzz....
  • The part of the brain that processes movement is the same part of the brain that processes learning.
  • Exercise strengthens the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and corpus callosum- all key areas of the brain.
  • When learning is connected to a kinesthetic experience, the information is more easily recalled.
  • Brain-based research suggests the best learning occurs when students learn new content for 10-15 minutes and then take a movement break for at least 2 minutes.
  • Scientist have found that people experiencing major depression have a 15% smaller hippocampus.
  • Exercise stimulates neural networks that help trigger learning; the ability to focus and recall information.
  • Playing outdoors reduces the chance of nearsightedness and improves distance vision.
  • Exercise increases the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a growth factor that supports and nourishes brain cells.
  • The cerebellum, which is responsible for movement and balance, takes up only one-tenth of the brain by volume, but it contains nearly half of all of the brain's neurons.
  • Exercise enhances memory, improves mood, and counteracts depression.
  • Stress damages cognition and motor skills.
  • Vision is by far our most dominant sense, taking up one-half of our brain's resources.
  • "Brain breaks" or "time for movement" in the classroom raise blood pressure and epinephrine levels among drowsy learners, reduce restlessness among antsy learners, and can reinforce content.
  • Play encourages emotional development and executive function in children.
  • Exercise fuels the brain with oxygen, therefore increasing cognition.
  • Sensory input and emotional arousal help prepare the brain for learning.
  • Our brains remain malleable throughout life and become even more resilient with exercise.
  • BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) works like miracle-grow in the brain for cells within the hippocampus.
  • Chronic stress decreases the immune system and brain functions over time.
  • The most productive environment for stimulating the brain is a new and ever-changing environment (the opposite of a classroom).
  • There is a greater array of receptors for touch around the mouth and hands than in any other area of the body.
  • Exercise fires up the cellular recovery process in our muscles and neurons, creating resiliency and better coping skills.
  • Cross-lateral movements create connections between the right and left sides of the brain.
  • Exercise works similar to medication in treating anxiety and depression, but with less side effects.
  • While exercising, norepinephrine and dopemine levels increase, which help regulate the attention system and prepare the brain for learning. 
  • Multi-sensory environments create stronger and longer lasting memories than uni-sensory environments.

Physical Education Advocation......
  • Most elementary students get less than 30 hours of physical education in one school year.
  • 8% of schools provide students in middle school with daily PE.
  • Exercise improves classroom behavior and academic performance.
  • 68% of high school students in the U.S. do not participate in a daily physical education program.
  • Colorado is the "most-fit" state, with the least amount of people considered obese by the FDA.
  • Instilling the value of exercise into children is most beneficial at an early age.
  • 65% of children have televisions in their bedrooms.
  • Active adolescents are more likely to use contraceptives and delay the initiation of first intercourse.
  • Less than 25% of children are engaged in 30 minutes of any type daily physical activity.
  • Childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in the last 20 years.
  • 37% of Americans are considered obese.
  • On average, children spend 7.5 hours per day using media including television, computers, and video games.
  • The stress students experience at home affects their performance at school. Physical activity helps reduce this stress.
  • On average, parents spend 11 minutes per day actually engaged in conversation with their high school aged son/daughter.
  • Physical education provides unique opportunities for problem-solving, self-expression, socialization, and conflict resolution.
  • 61% of children do not participate in organized physical activity outside of school.
  • Only 20% of children eat the recommended amount of fruits/veggies per day.
  • The average American child spends just 4-7 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day.
  • Most elementary students receive 30-50 minutes of PE per week.