U-M wants to help kids stay active with streaming online videos to get them moving

"Alright we're going to jog."

A classroom activity break gives a chance for kids to get moving for just a few minutes to improve blood flow to the brain and ultimately improve learning and concentration.

"The Centers for Disease Control said a long time ago - the more you burn the more you learn," said Rebecca Hasson.

Hasson is an associate professor of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan. Prior to COVID-19, they were working with schools to get kids moving more. Right now only one in four or five children meets the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

"K through 12 students need all the opportunities they can, to be physically active both in school and out of school," she said.

Now kids are definitely out of school. And with so much uncertainty about going back. U-M wants to help parents help their children stay active.

"If kids are not engaged in sports or they don't have safe places to exercise in their neighborhoods, they can put on a video in their living room and participate in exercise right in their house," Hasson said.

They are making these videos available to everyone, hoping to improve the health of Michigan's 1.5 million children. But it is not just about physical health and growth and development and a healthy weight - it is about a lot more.

"We also have to be thinking about the social implications and the mental health implications of sheltering in place," she said.

Hasson says kids cannot see their friends, they are losing social connections but physical activity can help.

"It releases a lot of endorphins," she said. "It brings a lot of hormones to the brain and it actually has been demonstrated that it will help you to feel better."

We are told these short, starter videos are just that - a start. By the fall, physical education teachers from across the state will also be posting videos so kids can exercise at home.

Videos like this one from physical education teacher Matt Mair.

"They are experts in this area and they know how to get our children moving," she said. "And they have graciously volunteered to make these videos that will allow our students to participate in yoga, in fitness, circuit training. All different types of exercises with a trained expert helping to guide those activities."

And Hasson hopes it will get parents involved and exercising as well.

"This just creates another opportunity for our students and their parents to engage in health enhancing physical activity," she said.

For more information: essi.umich.edu/active-schools-communities/