Texas school switching chairs for exercise balls

The Garland school district in Texas is embracing a new seating arrangement that includes exercise balls.

One of the schools in the district, the Walnut Glen Academy for Excellence, has ditched traditional classroom chairs for exercise balls. Teachers say it helps keep the school’s 565 students “on the ball.”

“One of the biggest things we’ve seen is that kids are so much more engaged — active body, active mind,” Principal Alejandro Rivera said.

“When kids are having issues thinking and it’s hard for them, they bounce more, and when they bounce more, the blood circulates from the brain and they get brighter ideas,” fourth-grade teacher Mylinda Wilcut said.

The school’s principal bounced the idea by teachers after researching the idea, which schools around the country are implementing.

Rivera also tried to motivate teachers.

“You can do this; you can do that,” he said. “Don’t just think of them as active seats. How can you incorporate this piece furniture, so to speak, into your everyday lesson?”

Teachers now incorporate the balls into class lessons, and students start the day with a five-minute exercise video to warm up their bodies and brains.

“We do a lot of bouncing, so if they have a song that goes with it, they know the beat with the ball,” Wilcut said. “It’s more likely to sink into the brain.”

“We’re a special school now,” student Brian Quintanilla said. “Bounce a little, get active [and] start thinking better.”

“I do like these exercise balls, because when we’re doing a test, we can bounce on them when we’re bored,” Zaili Randle said.

Studies show that exercise balls also help posture and handwriting. They also show you can burn up to 350 calories per day.

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