Stretching can help unfocused students get back on track


2017 Dance Team Boot Camp. Dancers worked out with Yoga poses.

Laurel Breuer, Staff Writer

Today’s U.S. classrooms tend to struggle with unfocused, distracted, overly energized, and sleepy kids of all ages from Pre-K to Seniors in high school. Just walk into a typical class at SFHS and you’ll see the warning signs – the glazed looks, a student with his head down, a teacher mistaking a stretched out arm for an answer to a question.

Brains need breaks and cramming information for seven hours from one class to another. It is exhausting. A simple solution to preventing brain and body fatigue could be as simple as a stretch.

“Muscle stretching during the school day is beneficial to help students focus more on their classes due to increased blood flow to your muscles,” said SFHS Nurse Holly Coy. “Sometimes when you sit for long periods of time your muscles get sore and they can cause you to kind of lose focus on academics.”

Without stretching, muscles shorten and become tight. Instead of sitting and slouching all day in classes, stretching can improve posture. Often times people mistake stretching as an exercise. Having the opportunity to even stretch out your legs and arms can release tension, reduce stress, and calm the mind.

“Stretch breaks should be implemented into school days,” said junior Megan Bauer, “because it would be good for students to get up stretch it out and be able to focus again.”

As a dancer, Bauer understands the importance of this simple, but useful tool. Stretching is good in so many ways and there are many health benefits to it as well. For example, sitting in a chair all day, like school kids do, results in tight hamstrings. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking.

“As both a teacher and a coach of the dance team I know and see first hand how important stretching really is,” Said Blaine High School Teacher and St. Francis dance team Coach Megan Schuelein. “Stretching and even small movement can stimulate brain activity as opposed to sitting in a desk, motionless for hours.”

Some other positive health reasons behind stretching can include things such as, maintaining range of motion in your joints, preventing injury, preparing the muscle resulting in easier and more fluent movement, enabling flexibility, increasing stamina, reducing soreness and Cholesterol, and promoting blood circulation.

“No matter how old, how young, how healthy, how unhealthy someone may be; stretching is an important part of everyone’s lives and schools should help with kids physical and mental development teaching fundamental habits.” said Schuelein.

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