Kids may be right in proclaiming recess as a legit school subject, as a recent study on TIME says that it's as important as core classes such as math and reading.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) teachers should encourage children to enjoy recess, as it's the perfect time to let their minds rest and absorb previous lessons before jumping into a few more hours of mental exercises.

Study co-author, pediatrician, and Ohio State University professor Robert Murray says, "Children need to have downtime between complex cognitive challenges. They tend to be less able to process information the longer they are held to a task. It’s not enough to just switch from math to English. You actually have to take a break."

When the study began in 2007, AAP researchers were only looking into the effectiveness of play in maintaining children physically healthy, but they immediately discovered that it isn't the only benefit that recess offers.

"We came to the realization that it really affects social, emotional and cognitive development in a much deeper way than we’d expected," Murray continues. "It helps children practice conflict resolution if we allow them unstructured play, and it lets them come back to class more ready to learn and less fidgety."

And it isn't just kids who need breaks; adults, too, should give themselves time to stand up, walk around, and take a breather in between office tasks. Murray notes, "We get up, we get coffee, we mix and match our tasks during the day so our concentration can stay sharp." Doing cubicle exercises is also a good idea to avoid becoming too sedentary, as is usually the case with people who have desk jobs.

Recess and coffee breaks should not be taken for granted. Resting the mind as well as keeping the body active keep children and adults sharp, energetic, and more inspired to continue on with the day.

(Photo by Grant via Flickr Creative Commons)

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