'Brain Breaks' promote healthy living in elementary students

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — According to Sentara RMH, the RMH Community Health Needs Assessment in 2012 showed that among children 10-17 years old within the Sentara Medical Center service region, 18% are considered overweight, and 34% are less physically active than recommended.

Students use stationary bikes to stay active while learning.

Now, the Community Health office is working with a grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to help get children active and healthy. They are working with schools in Harrisonburg to purchase tools to help teachers implement “Brain Breaks” for the kids. Through the “Brain Break” program, students dance or do other exercises to get energy out.

So far, Smithland Elementary is having great success with the program. The school has implemented using dance videos in the classroom, instructional yoga and mats, and even a stationary bike. Some classrooms also use alternative seating, so they have stools, standing desks, and yoga balls for kids to sit on. Community Health Educator Olivia Resto goes into the schools to help teachers learn different strategies for the “Brain Breaks.”

“Smithland has been overly successful with brain breaks, the teachers are very much invested in both the academic, and physical well-being of their students, which makes the program so much more successful,” said Resto.

The Community Health Office is now reaching out to schools in the county to help them implement “Brain Breaks” into their school.