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Tabata in the Classroom

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So, what is Tabata, you may ask.  Don't worry, I hadn't heard of it either until a colleague of mine mentioned it may help my son in the classroom.  Tabata is a form of high intensity exercise comprised of eight 20 second sets, totaling 4 minutes.  It was founded by a Japanese scientist who wanted to compare the results of moderate intensity and high intensity workouts.


We all know that physical fitness is linked to overall wellness.  You may be cyclists, runners, cross-fitters, power walkers, or swimmers.  Or you may just run around outside with your kids every day.  Whatever it is, it makes you feel good so you do it!

But what about exercise in the classroom?  Isn't there time for that in P.E. or at recess?  Maybe.  But as it is at my son's school, he is in the classroom from 8 until noon.  That is a LONG time to sit still and work.  A LONG TIME.  I can't even do that, friends.  I bet every teacher out there has seen a fidgety kid or two in their career.

How can Tabata in the classroom help?

Exercise improves brain function!  With increased blood and oxygen flow, nerve cells can multiply and survive.  There are higher levels of norepinephrine and endorphins that lower stress and make you happy!  There are studies happening all over the country that are demonstrating that the more physically active school kids are, the better they do academically.

So, what is the harm in breaking up the school morning with 4 minutes of high intensity exercise?  The kids will appreciate the break from the work and they will enjoy it!  Combining exercises that are cardiovascular (running in place, jumping jacks, etc) with exercises that cross the midline of the body (opposite toe touches, elbow to opposite knee) is optimal.

Share this information with your child's teacher.  I know our teachers are always asking for ways they can help our children.  This is one way and perhaps the whole school will get on board!

I found the following video from ClassFitKids, and online resource for utilizing Tabata in the classroom.  I love this video!  It takes all of the guess work out and gives the teacher a solid tool to use.  Pass it on!  Your teacher may appreciate it and your kiddos will benefit from it!


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  1. I teach a full day kindergarten class. My students and I use a website called gonoodle.com

    It has so many brain breaks, silly songs, and exercise activities.

  2. When I went to play video it said private and was a blank black screen. Youtube gave the same message. Sounds interesting

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