On January 31, BrainFutures Director Karen Alexander testified before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee in support of House Bill 110, which would require public elementary schools to provide a daily program of physical activity totaling 150 minutes each week, including a minimum of 90 minutes of physical education. Her testimony included research about the importance of physical activity to children’s brain health and how improvements in executive function skills can promote reading and math achievement.
Alexander noted, “Emerging science is identifying the specific types and levels of physical exercise that produce optimal gain for students. Studies have found that team games with high amounts of both cognitive engagement and physical exertion strengthen executive function skills of self-control, working memory and cognitive flexibility more than individual aerobic exercise. These executive function skills prime the brain for learning. HB 110 will help ensure that elementary school students experience daily physical activity which, if properly structured, can strengthen children’s brain health and improve academic and behavioral outcomes.”
(BrainFutures testimony starts at 28:50)