Break Pal for Kids
Break Pal is great for kids. It helps solve a number of issues all in one application.
Break Pal can help with:
- Being more physically active
- Increasing Learning Potential
- Teaching kids to eat more whole grains
- Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption
- Choosing lean sources of protein (meat and beans)
- Increasing foods with high nutrition value and decreasing amounts of solid fats and added sugars ("extra" calories), and decreasing amounts of sodium
- Identifying and consuming proper portion size
- Balancing physical activity and food intake
Increasing Physical Activity
Whether used in the classroom, at home during homework time, or during allotted screen time Break Pal can help children fit more physical activity into their day. Short micro-workouts can be done in any space. Less than five feet by five feet is ample room for the workouts. No special equipment or mats are need and some exercises can even be done from a chair.
Break up screen time or long durations at a desk with Break Pal and reap the benefits.
Increasing Learning Ability
"Teachers can increase learning potential with short bouts of classroom exercise. Physical movement stimulates & increases thinking, memory, motivation and concentration."
Recent studies are showing numerous benefits of short exercises in the classroom.
"The brain's short- and long-term memory may improve by using more than one mode of information." Allowing students to briefly exercise before the lesson helps the brain to process information in addition to methods used by the teacher. "In other words, motor memory can complement the initial verbal or visual memories."
-Margaret Rice, physical therapist and author of the article, "Bulk Up the Brain: The Benefits of Bringing Physical Activity into the Classroom," featured in the monthly trade magazine Advance for Physical Therapists and PT Assistants (May 2008, pg. 26-27)
Cross Lateral Motions
Cross lateral motions have been shown to increase learning ability by integrating and in some cases re-establishing communication between the two brain hemispheres and the body. By stimulating the brain to shift between integrated (both sides) processing, using a cross lateral motion, and parallel (one-sided) processing.
Each brain hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body. So by intentionally moving an opposite arm and leg across the midfield, we fire off both brain hemispheres at the same time, creating and myelinating better neural connections over the corpus callosum. This cross lateral movement stimulates the whole brain––the vestibular (balance) system, the reticular activating system (the brain's wake-up call!), the cerebellum (automatic movement), the basal ganglion (intentional movement), the limbic system (emotional balance), and the frontal lobes (reasoning).Slow cross lateral movement also increases dopamine levels in the brain (enhancing our ability to see patterns and to learn faster).
When we then switch to a same side arm and leg movement, we deepen the neural netting that assures our ability to quickly shift with ease and full access, to each individual hemisphere as needed. The intent is never to be “stuck” in any one pattern of brain communication. Multiple connections and instant flexibility are the key!
Because many of the Break Pal exercises are based on Kung Fu, Tai Chi / Chi Kung, and Yoga most of them have a high degree of cross lateral motion and over time can create higher levels of body awareness and proprioception. We have found that kids will at first struggle with these exercises but are also somehow drawn to them. Intuitively they know they are good for them.
Learning About Nutrition
Kids are bombarded all day long with unhealthy food choices. Television, web, and print marketing all espouse the sugary sweet choices. Break Pal suggests healthy choices.
Each time the child goes to their personal profile page they are presented with a healthy food choice with nutrition facts from the USDA nutrition dataset. Choices are presented at the upper right of the page where they are most likely to be seen. These choices are comprised of foods with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats. Children will learn over time what are good food choices and may even crave them.
The entire USDA nutrition database is also searchable from their profile if they'd like to compare food choices.
In the classroom
Teachers can help their students learn better by using Break Pal in the classroom. Short exercise breaks don't take much time but they'll certainly get your students back on track. Long hours at a desk can be the worst thing for learning ability. Break up that time with Break Pal and you'll see your kids succeed.
Teachers have reported back that using Break Pal on their overhead projector works well. Classrooms can even friend other classrooms and compete for exercise points with other classrooms around the world. Nothing motivates like a little competition.