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Movement and well-being - We have all had those days when we need to get outside to go for a walk to clear our heads. Have you ever wondered why this helps our well-being and mental health?

The reason is that when your body moves, so does your brain.

The movement and well-being promotes the production of the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). The release of BDNF stimulates the growth of new neurons and aids cognitive function.

Did you know that exercise also releases the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain known as endorphins? These chemicals improve your, mood, energy levels and sleep. A child, or adult, who is active every day tends to also be a better sleeper and they feel good. When you feel good you are more likely to be active and continue the cycle.

Sleep is vital to be able to process the day’s events and empty your “stress bucket”. Sleep and dreaming help you to rationalise the feelings and file them away for future decision-making and wake up in the morning with an emptier “stress bucket” which enables you to build resilience.

When you, or your little ones, stress bucket overflows you will know. There will be a flood of emotions and feelings that you will need to mop up!

To prevent the flood of emotion, you can help them build resilience by being active throughout the day. The movement and exercise will release the feel-good endorphins in their brains.

This in turn will make them feel better. At the same time, this will help them lower the levels, throughout the day, in their stress bucket. Being active during the day helps you get a good night’s sleep and sleep helps you empty the bucket even further.

Movement And Well-Being Something Extra….

If you combine Movement and well-being with music, you are also helping your little ones to express their feelings, and emotions and improve their communication skills. There is some research that suggests music also releases the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, but it appears to be more effective after a stressful event not before.

Music could be a great tool to help when you get a stress bucket flood. It can calm and help them feel more relaxed and peaceful. I know when teaching in SEN schools, the children have had a bad night, and are not in a good place; I play calming music and lie on the floor with them – modelling the behaviour I want them to achieve. After a while, the music starts to empty their stress bucket and they stop moving in an anxious or stressed way and sit or lay down. Then we can resume being active, in a way that is safe for everyone, to help them release the feel-good chemicals in a fun and enjoyable way.

It’s Just Even More Work!

You know what the benefits are, and you may be thinking it’s just something extra to fit in an already jam-packed day.

It won’t take much effort as it is fun and good for you as well. Look at your current plan and activities and see if you could build in some more movement activities, including group ones if you don’t think you have enough.

Dinosaur Ideas: October Is International Dinosaur Month

Reading dinosaur stories together:

Make the story interactive by acting out the whole story with the children. Be and do everything the dinosaurs do.

Cook and make dinosaur snacks:

Think of all the activities you can create in finding the ingredients, measuring and mixing.

Dinosaur expedition:

Get the children moving outside in the garden or park searching for dinosaurs to help with movement and well-being.

Careful though, as you don’t know what or who you will meet. You will need to run and hide from the Pterodactyls and a large Quetzalcoatlus to avoid being eaten. Take turns being the giant flapping flying dinosaurs. This will get the endorphins flowing!

Make some dinosaur wings together as activities like this help them to focus on something that is fun and reduce the levels in their stress bucket.

Meet a very grumpy Cryolophosaurus. Let them express this grumpy emotion with facial expressions and big stomping movements and loud sounds (we are not quite sure how they sounded). I would think a grumpy Cryolophosaurus would be quite terrifying, and we need to cheer him up before we become his lunch. Working together you can find lots of different ways of cheering him up ranging from pulling silly faces to making him dance to happy music until he smiles. The Cryolophosaurus is also known as the Elvisaurus as the head crest. This is the perfect excuse to dance to Elvis Presley’s “All shook up”.

Play hide and seek with a pair of Stegosaurus which will incorporate turn-taking and working together while being active.
Feel the earth move as you stomp with the Titanosaurus as she can’t find her nest – ummm she can’t see it on her head. Are you brave enough to tell her?

You can extend the adventure by going on a dinosaur footprint hunt. Or if you can’t get outside create a dinosaur bone excavation in a sandpit or with brushes and tweezers set up in a tuff tray.

Then the ultimate in fun – exploring dinosaur poo!

I will leave it there as you can see there is no limit to getting them active and moving while having fun.

Movement And Well-Being Summary

Being active and moving helps your little ones build the all-important resilience that they need in life. Movement and well-being helps keep their mind from worrying about things. This in turn will promote a better sense of well-being and helps their social interaction which will make them emotionally stronger.

They will also learn good habits that they will hopefully, continue throughout their lives, to stay physically fitter.

Moving and releasing the “feel-good” chemicals in their brains helps them to manage the levels of their stress buckets and there is research, that suggests further benefits when taking part in activities as a group.

Did you find this blog on Movement and well-being usful? Take a look at some of our other weel-being blogs here:

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

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