New program combines exercise and academics

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DAVIS COUNTY, Utah – Students at six elementary schools in Davis County are learning about the importance of physical activity through subjects not normally associated with working out.

The Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program is a new model for what physical education could look like in schools in the future.

Amber Hall is a doctoral candidate at the University of Utah, and she explained the benefits of the program.

“As students move their bodies they start to associate a movement with their academic learning, and they remember it because their brain is active,” Hall said.

Brain Breaks are among the activities in the program, which lets students get active.

“It’s really empowering to watch the students as their teachers start to implement some of these things, a student will raise their hand and say, ‘We haven’t had a brain break in a couple of hours,’ and they want to get up and move their bodies,” Hall said.

Jennifer Hogge teaches fifth grade students, and she said the kids enjoy the program.

“They’re excited when I offer an opportunity to be in the class to do some kind of physical activity, they’re more willing to get up and participate,” Hogge said.

Hall said she hopes the program catches on in other places.

“Now we’re learning new ways to teach,” Hall said. “To really reach the learners of the 21st century.”