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Keeping Fit for Learning

New Horizons for Learning has always included sessions about health and physical fitness in our workshops and conferences. Everyone knows that a healthy body supports a lively mind, but in stressful, intense periods of our working lives many of us forget the basics. At our conferences we take time to move when we have been sitting, stretch our bodies, fill our lungs with fresh air, and take time for reflection and renewal. People tell us that they use these simple exercises to make a real difference in the quality of their daily work.

We plan to keep adding suggestions on how to keep the body healthy and vigorous, which has a significant effect on mental alertness and efficiency. If you have strategies that work for you, please share them!


The Eight Treasures
Adapted by Robert Dickinson
The Eight Treasures are simple Tai Chi warm-up exercises, based on those that have been done in China for thousands of years.

T'ai Chi for the Differently-Abled
Robert S. Dickinson
Doing "Differently- Abled" T'ai Chi is just that. It's different. It's different every time, as well as in every space, anyway. Physical "disability" is a change of space. It doesn't meant you cannot do T'ai Chi. It's just that you do it differently.

Exercises for Those in a Wheelchair
Robert S. Dickinson
When in a wheelchair, there is a great need for as much mobility as possible as well as increased circulation. This article describes specific exercises that can be done by anyone regardless of individual physical challenges, and all the exercises can be modified to adapt to any condition.

Reduce Tension and Increase Attention
Robert S. Dickinson
Here are three simple exercises that require very little space or time. They can oxygenate the body and brain, resulting in a decrease of stress and tension and an increase of attentiveness, alertness, and interest.

The Powerful Impact of Stress and Calm on Health, Behavior and Learning
Victoria Tennant
As high stress increases in classrooms for both teachers and students, a specialist in this field offers timely and helpful suggestions for coping.

Is Physical Education a Part of the Childhood Obesity Problem?
Stu Ryan
The prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States has risen dramatically in the past several decades. Increasing physical education is often highlighted as a possible solution to the problem. However, inappropriate physical education practices may serve as more of a hindrance than a cure.

The Group Games Model of Learning
Gary Schwartz
Are students and teachers becoming increasingly stressed? Do we need to create more nurturing and creative environments? A well-known actor offers his views on the importance of dramatic games that can be included in any classroom.

Recommended Reading

Breathing the Breath of Life: Video and Instruction Manual
by Robert Dickinson

A Teacher's Guide to Including Students with Disabilities in General Physical Education
by Martin E. Block
This is a practical handbook for any physical education teacher! It includes a description of what a quality physical education program should include, and reviews the history and key characteristics of inclusion.

Related Links

New! Transcendental Meditation
Thank you to Emily Parker for sharing this resource with us. Emily is a site user who has experimented with many techniques and found this method to be most helpful for her.

Education World: Let's Get Physical

Preschoolers and Physical Fitness

Community Learning Network's Fitness Theme Page

World Wide Online Meditation Center

Learning Meditation

Meditation Station

© August 2006

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