by Tiffanie Grady-Gillespie, Certified Physical Trainer, CPT, WickedFiTT
There can’t be a better time to celebrate physical activity as the weather gets warmer and our days get longer.
Created in 1956, the mission of the now-titled President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition has been to increase sports participation among youth of all backgrounds and abilities to promote healthy active lifestyles for all Americans. The council has created and promoted programs and initiatives that motivate people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
A healthy and active lifestyle is critical to long-term physical and mental well-being. Let’s also remember the close relationship between sports and physical fitness. Benefits related to participation in sports include disease prevention, lessons in teamwork and leadership skills. Sports also promote positive mentoring, discipline and structure for young kids.
I still remember and admit I absolutely loved the day when I received the Presidential Physical Fitness Award at Toltec Elementary School. That’s a certificate kids receive after finishing a certain number of sit-ups and pull-ups as well as shuttle runs and the evil 1-mile “endurance” run. I remember beating “the boys” in my class, too, which was just icing on my cake! PE was truly the one class I excelled in, as Jan Hortyk can verify.
I am a bit older now, but the kid inside me stills loves the idea of celebrating National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Regular activity for kids brings improvements to fitness levels and brain function.
Physical activity doesn’t just have to be during a recess or PE setting to be effective. Classroom teachers can benefit from energizers and brain boosters. Or, make up your own fun name! Whatever you want to call it, let’s get these kids out of their seats and active throughout the school day. I bet all of the teachers will have fun, too!
Here are a few fun ways to get those kids up and moving:
- Implement a Morning Motion and Movement: Set aside 10 minutes every morning to start the day off with some movement. Maybe some stretching, jumping jacks, high knees. It will get the blood pumping and offer positive affirmation for the day.
- Ball-Toss Spelling: Call out a spelling word, then toss a poof ball to one of your students and have them call out the first letter in the word, then toss the ball to another student, who should call out the second letter. Continue until all of your spelling words have been practiced.
- Get them up out of their seats and moving for five minutes of every hour of every school day. As crazy as it sounds, those five minutes add up to 40 minutes every day, over three hours a week and more than 60 hours a month. WHAAAAAAAT??????????
Encourage students to take these ideas home to their families, which can help be an encouragement to make small changes. Remind them that activity for just five or 10 minutes at a time adds up throughout the day.
During May, let’s encourage our friends, family and children to eat nutritious food and take more time each day to be active. Then they can inspire friends, family, peers and loved ones to do the same!
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