PORTLAND – Local schools are using a new online program to help kids get exercise in the classroom.
Kids jumping, twisting and swinging their arms may looks like pandemonium, but students at the King School library Tuesday were actually taking part in a school-sanctioned brain break.
"We notice kids that move around are more able to focus when they need to," said Jodi Coombs of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
Some 44,000 kids in the Portland Public Schools District are moving during the school day with an online program called GoNoodle.
Kids watch the online video and do activities along with accomplished athletes who lead children through the exercises.
"The kids can inspire each other in the classroom,” said Mady Murray of Randall Children’s Hospital. “The teachers can encourage it, but then it also gives them information to share at home about healthy living and being active."
At King School in Northeast Portland, 2nd graders received an award for logging the most GoNoodle minutes of any class in the district.
That earned them a visit from Mary Cain, the U.S. indoor champion in the 1,500 meter race.
Cain is just 17 years old.
"I actually got my start running because I could beat the boys in elementary school,” Cain said. “So I thought I might as well try out for the track team."
Cain came from New York for Tuesday’s GoNoodle visit and joined in on a video brain break with the kids.
"I was getting excited,” Cain said. “Oh, Lolo Jones is telling me to run! I thought it was really cool."
It's up to teachers to decide when to give the kids a few minutes to move.
"What I love about this particular program is its really consistent message about physical activity and eating well," said Murray.
The program is paid for Doernbecher and Randall children’s hospitals. They hope to keep kids moving and enjoying the outdoors instead of in a doctor’s office.