High school students deserve wellness breaks; How recess positively impacts teens


   It’s safe to assume that as high schoolers, we all miss recess.

     How can we not? Recess was one of the best parts of the day in elementary school. Getting a whole 30 minute break from the stress of classwork, projects, and grades in exchange for being with friends and generally having a great time every single day sounds like heaven!

     And then middle school came. Gone were the days where we could have a nice break from school and brain fog, and in came the phrase, “Well, you don’t get wellness breaks in the real world!”

     This isn’t very fair, right? As students, we deserve some time to stop working.

     According to the CDC, wellness breaks benefit students by, “improving their memory, attention, and concentration” as well as, “improving their social and emotional development.” Yes, we are high schoolers, but our brains are still developing and will continue to develop until the age of 25. And, is there really any sort of teacher that doesn’t want to expand a student’s attention span and concentration?

      Also, in the day and age of communication through technology, we need all the social development we can get. Adults always say, “Maybe if you got off your phone, you’d be better at talking to people!” However, you cannot talk to people verbally if there is no time to. Ten minutes at the bus ramp and 30 minutes of lunch, where everyone is busy eating, is not enough time to have a decent conversation by many people’s standards.

     Not only that, but according to Commonwealth Charter Academy, not having a wellness break can have detrimental effects on students such as childhood depression and anxiety, as well as decreased academic performance. As one report puts it, “More class time does not lead to better scores.”

      While the idea of more class time leading to better scores makes sense, that is not the case. According to Texas Children’s Hospital, “There are many studies that show children that get a recess break between cognitive activities showed better focus and attention on the next cognitive activity than children who did not get a break.” Furthermore, disruptions in class caused by a student acting silly could be prevented if there were a way to let out pent up energy.

       Some could argue that lunch and gym are perfectly fine substitutes for a wellness break. However, that is not the truth. Lunch is only about 30 minutes long, and you are expected to sit still and eat for most of the time, only getting up to throw things in the trash or to use the bathroom so that your teacher doesn’t yell at you for asking to go in the middle of class.

     Gym is no different. Yes, you are getting physical activity, but some people don’t enjoy the competitiveness or the pressure to do well in gym class. Some people, believe it or not, just don’t like sports. So, lunch and gym are both out of the picture.

     Yes, we are high schoolers, but we’re still kids. Which is why high schools should implement wellness breaks once again, for the benefit of students’ mental health, physical health, and academic performance.