Physical activity improves students’ moods

It’s no secret that our brains and bodies are connected.

Studies show that moving your body releases all kinds of chemicals into your brain. These chemicals can decrease feelings of anxiety and depression. Research shows that physical activity also improves students’ moods. And that this boost in mood contributes to more self-confidence.

Marisa Bible is a counselor in Galveston ISD in Galveston, TX. She refers to these chemicals as “happy chemicals.” She says that getting physical activity makes the students in her district happier. It also makes them more open to learning, she says.

How are the students in Marisa’s district getting their daily dose of physical activity? They take part in a free program called The Daily Mile.

What’s The Daily Mile? 

The Daily Mile is a free whole-child physical activity initiative. During The Daily Mile teachers and their students go outside to run, walk, job, or roll for 15 minutes.

But the benefits of The Daily Mile go beyond physical activity.

The format of the program helps students and teachers build relationships.

The American Psychological Association found that positive relationships are vital to our wellbeing. And they can even help us live longer, too!

Katie is a first-grade teacher in Marisa’s school district. She had this to say about The Daily Mile.

“The reason we become teachers isn’t just to teach reading, writing, or math. We get into teaching to build relationships with our students. Yes, testing is important, and learning is important. But, having the opportunity to create a meaningful connection with a student means the world.”

The Daily Mile has several free resources you can use to help your students. They will help them, and you, see the benefits physical activity has on their mood. And how building relationships helps their self-esteem.

Post the Mood Meter on a wall in your classroom. Have your students identify the face that matches their current mood. Where does it land on the chart? Then go outside for The Daily Mile. Have them pick another face that matches their mood after they come back inside. Did the face change? Did they move from one quadrant on the graph to another?

The Journal of Joy is available in English and Spanish. It includes prompts where students can write things that make them unique. Another page in the Journal has Notes of Kindness they can share with their classmates.

Sign up for The Daily Mile for free today. Happier and more engaged students will follow.