The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Why do you need Brain Breaks while studying?

In today’s rapid-paced learning environment, where tasks and assignments pile up continually and information seems to flow ceaselessly, having moments of reflection for students to recharge, or “brain breaks,” is more important than ever before.

Brain breaks are short, intentional pauses that work remarkably well to enhance students’ cognitive skills, learning capacities, and emotional resilience.

Brain breaks are essential to the learning process; they are times when students can move around freely and focus on something other than learning.

Brain breaks replenish attention

Research has shown that students who engage in physical activity during the day perform better in class.

Brain breaks are great for students to replenish attention, improve their learning capacity, and boost their creativity. But this is not only true for students; we all can benefit from providing brains with more downtime.

Research has demonstrated that young students who quit high school prematurely and are looking to earn their high school equivalency diploma (GED) also benefit from taking regular breaks to stay focused on the complex curriculum of the GED test.

Often, they use an online program for their preparation, and since there’s no educator to explain the importance of regular breaks, these online courses should stress the relevance of taking brain breaks to these students.

Focusing on assignments and tasks requires a lot of mental effort, and this is particularly true for young students whose attention spans are still developing. Some studies found that young students were far less attentive when their lessons were extended from 10 to 20 or 30 minutes.

So you see, attentional resources deplete over time, and mental fatigue is a signal that the brain withdraws from paying attention to the learning material.

This phenomenon can be mitigated by taking brain breaks. Many studies have shown that brief periods of physical activity will keep young students on task and help them stay focused.

Why Brain Breaks are important

Like other parts of our bodies, the human brain requires rest to recuperate. Without breaks, the brain will get fatigued, which will lead to reduced concentration, affecting our reasoning capacity and problem-solving skills and increasing stress levels.

Brain breaks allow the brain to recharge so we can return to assignments and tasks with renewed energy and vigor. So, before a student’s brain gets overtired, offer short breaks so they can continue their lessons with full attention.

It is quite easy for educators in classroom settings or parents helping their children study at home to work these breaks into the students’ routines. All that’s needed is to set a timer for 20–30 minutes, and when the timer sounds, the students will take a 5–10 minute break.

Creating these brain breaks will not only keep the students’ brains active but also focus their attention on these short, rewarding breaks.

Benefits of Brain Breaks for Students

There are so many benefits to brain breaks for your students. Not only will taking breaks make their learning easier, but it will also become more enjoyable, encouraging a deeper understanding and developing a love for learning. So, let’s look at some of the benefits of Brain Breaks for the students:

  • Optimizing Learning Experience

For students, the learning process is a journey, and taking brain breaks is like enjoying a rest stop. When students, especially younger ones, are learning new things or experiencing new situations, their brain absorbs lots of new information.

If they keep on pushing their brains without a break, it will affect them in the same way as if we would drive for hours without taking a break to refresh or stretch out a bit. Brain breaks allow students’ brains to catch up. If they will take short breaks, their brains will get the time to process new information and get reorganized, improving understanding, enhancing retention, and boosting effective learning and productivity.

  • Boosting Productivity

When students try to tackle a complicated math problem or dive into an important history lesson, their brains work hard, using up lots of valuable mental resources.

Just like athletes need to cool down after a demanding task, your students’ brains need to have a break after performing a challenging task. Taking a brain break works like resetting their system, and when the students return to their tasks, their focus will be sharper, and their concentration will improve, meaning they will be able to work more efficiently, boosting their productivity.

  • Enhancing Creativity

Many parents and educators have noticed that their children and students come up with fantastic creative ideas when having fun or when they’re relaxing. Brain breaks will enhance these creative processes.

When students step away from assignments or their schoolwork to engage in a different, enjoyable activity, the “creative mode” of their brains switches on. This allows them to focus on new experiences, lets them run their imagination, and come up with new possibilities or find innovative solutions.

  • Relieving Stress

A student’s life is full of stress, whether it’s about writing tests, completing assignments, improving their grades, or dealing with social pressures. Stress can and will take a toll on a student’s mind, affecting their decision-making capacities and the ability to learn effectively. Brain breaks function as high-power stress busters!

During brain breaks, students can engage in activities to soothe their troubled minds and release built-up tensions. When returning to their assignments after a break, their brains will be calmer, and their perspectives will be clearer, making them better equipped to deal with their everyday challenges.

  • Improving Physical Wellbeing

Physical activities are good for our bodies and good for our brains. Taking a brain break that involves physical activities will have a great dual effect.

Brain breaks energize your students’ bodies by getting their blood flowing and their muscles moving. This will additionally stimulate their brains. Physical movement increases our body’s supply of nutrients and oxygen, allowing our brain to function better.

So, it is recommended that your students move about and work out a bit during brain breaks. Incorporating physical workouts into your students’ routines will allow them to recharge and thrive and boost their mental clarity.

Brain Breaks and Online Learning

When students break their studying into shorter chunks of time, chances are they will learn better, faster, and more effectively than when they cram it all into one large block.

This “spacing effect” is a highly replicated phenomenon in education. Spacing gives us time to forget, forcing us to practice remembering any provided information. Practicing retrieving information will help students when they need to retrieve information for a test such as the GED test.

Today, an increasing number of adults who haven’t finished their high school curriculum are turning to online preparatory courses to prepare for the GED exam. In the contemporary job market, having at least a secondary education degree (high school or equivalent diploma) is a prerequisite for practically all positions, including entry-level ones.

Adults learning at home for their high school equivalency test also benefit from taking brain breaks. Let’s take a look at how that works:

  • Building brain breaks into an online learning program will, just as it does in classroom settings, optimize the learning experience and boost creativity, resulting in more effective learning. For example, breathing exercises during a brain break are great for students who suffer from test anxiety or experience concentration issues while following online video lessons.
  • Brain breaks offer online students the opportunity to socialize during their learning sessions. After a short break, their attention span will be reenergized, boosting productivity and learning capacity.
  • When a student learns at home, families should stimulate the students to take regular short breaks. This allows the brain to reset and the students to better focus on the task after the break, improving learning efficiency and shortening the time needed to get perfectly prepared for a test.
  • Breaks improve the learning process. Many people think that when they take a break, the learning process stops, so they are scared to take any breaks. But when taking a break, the learning process doesn’t stop at all! The brain still works during breaks to process the earlier provided information.

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