Two Summer Reading Books That Stress the Importance of Physical Activity

In this Physical Education podcast, Chris Nichols shares two books that stress the physical and mental benefits of movement and physical education.

[0:03] Today on the PE Express podcast, I’ll share my thoughts on two books that have greatly influenced my teaching.

[0:29] Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Today I would like to share the importance of continued growth through professional books that helps support the impact of physical education on the whole child.

[0:40] During this pandemic I’ve been working out, but I’ve also revisited some of the professional books that have had an impact on my personal life. During this time of virtual learning, It has been hard to feel like I’m truly making impact on my students the why I do in life is normal. So I’ve turned off the Netflix and picked up the books to revisit them. I walked away with a reminder how important our profession is and how invaluable the lessons we provide for our students are far beyond our classrooms.

Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina

[1:09] In the book “Brain Rules”, Dr John. Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule. What scientists know for sure about how our brain works and then offers ideas for our daily lives. Most of us have no idea what’s really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent and teachers should know, like the need for physical activity gets your brain working at its best. After reading this book, I had a much better understanding about how the brain really works and how to get the most out of it. A quote from his book is “Exercise boost brain power. The human brain evolves under conditions of almost constant motion.”

SPARK by Dr. John Ratey

[2:00] The second book is “SPARK” by John Raty. Dr John Raty, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Him and Eric Hagerman, a former senior editor of Popular Science and Outside magazine, developed this book. Did you know you can beat stress? Lift your mood? Fight memory loss? Sharpen your intellect and function better than ever simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? Yes, we knew that we’re physical education teachers, but it was great to have the evidence from this book. The evidence that they provide is amazing. Aerobic exercise physically remodels our brain for peak performance. Dr. Raty embarks upon a fascinating and entertaining journey through a mind body connection.

[2:49] You will really love the chapter about Naperville, Illinois. It was a revolutionary fitness program that’s in the book that put this school district of 19,000 kids to the test. And boy, did their test scores improve? SPARK is the book that explored this connection between exercise and the brain. It will change the way you think about your morning run or, for that matter, simply the way that you think.

[3:14] During this pandemic we’ve been evaluating our role as physical education teachers in this virtual learning platform. I needed these books and need to revisit them to understand how important we are in this process. I would love for other professionals and colleagues to share what books have influenced you the most in your teaching career. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

Chris has been a Physical Educator for 22 years in Texas. He has been recognized as a district finalist for Teacher of the Year and formerly served as the Early Childhood Chair Elect for the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD). Chris has presented at state and national conferences and spent two years writing curriculum, creating and delivering professional development, and supporting physical education teachers as a Health and Physical Education Specialist in a large urban district. Now an elementary Physical Education teacher in Garland ISD, Chris strives to promote a healthy and physically active lifestyle in both his personal and professional life.

Chris has been a Physical Educator for 22 years in Texas. He has been recognized as a district finalist for Teacher of the Year and formerly served as the Early Childhood Chair Elect for the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD). Chris has presented at state and national conferences and spent two years writing curriculum, creating and delivering professional development, and supporting physical education teachers as a Health and Physical Education Specialist in a large urban district. Now an elementary Physical Education teacher in Garland ISD, Chris strives to promote a healthy and physically active lifestyle in both his personal and professional life.

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