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School gets fidgety kids to burn off energy - by riding exercise bikes

Quebec school says 10-minute sessions can also boost concentration

An elementary school in Canada has hit upon a novel way of getting over-excited children to burn off excess energy – by sending them out of the classroom to pedal on exercise bikes.

Allion Elementary School in LaSalle, Quebec, has put four of the bikes, plus a pint-sized one for the youngest kids, in a corridor, reports CTV News Montreal (link to video).

Teachers at the bilingual school can send children out of lessons to spend to time on the bikes, and students themselves can also request a time out.

One pupil said: "I come down here, relax, get a book, read for ten minutes then after I go back upstairs and do the rest of my work.”

The school’s principal, James Benn, said there were benefits in bringing together physical exercise and traditional learning methods such as reading.

"It's an opportunity for our students who need a bit of movement to come down, take a break," he explained.

"We find some of our students are a little more productive after they've had an opportunity to get a little excess energy out."

He added: "If a student appears to be edgy in class, a little extra energy in there that needs to be dispersed somewhere, the teacher may suggest go down, take a movement break, get some exercise, get a little oxygen.”

There is a 10-minute limit on using the machines, so it’s not a question of children asking to be allowed on them as an excuse for skipping classes, and one teacher said that it helped some children concentrate better.

Another unusual use of exercise bikes we’ve covered on road.cc comes from the United States where an Arizona lawman nicknamed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” had prison inmates work for the privilege of watching TV in jail by having them pedal a static bike to power it.

> Sheriff makes prisoners pedal for TV privileges

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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