IAH’s newest class, Movement Lab, provides an opportunity for students to explore and experience the brain-changing benefits of exercise and nature. Every day, students review a new piece of research that explores exercise as it relates to academics, brain structure, heart rate, mental health, and more.
Then, they engage in one of three exercise options that range from running to P90X to hip hop dance. At the end of each class period, students reflect on how their attention, energy, and mood change following exercise. Ultimately, they prepare a short written assignment in which they synthesize the research with their personal experience.
During the exercise I learned more about myself. I learned that while exercising I stop thinking about stuff. My mind goes blank…I’m at a quiet place just exercising and focused on myself. The way I can translate it into my everyday life is that I work better outside than I do inside. And I should try that more often. My goal is to get more exercise and a lot more work done each and every day.
Even one day of Movement Lab made a difference. Students arrived with a lethargic, glazed look in their eyes, but they cheered each other on, explored parts of Hale they had never seen before, and experienced the drastic mood-altering effects of aerobic exercise. They left laughing, smiling, and eager for the next day. Just imagine what an entire semester of this class will do!