As I was in high school, I never had to worry about the amount of time I spent getting my daily exercise. I was a three sport athlete for as long as I could remember, and I had gym every day growing up. To me, physical exercise was just part of my day.
When I saw some of the stats from children today, and how they exercise, it really shocked me. Only 29% of students go to gym class daily? That’s crazy! And only 27% exercise 60 minutes a day? And then I started thinking about myself. When was the last time I really worked out? It’s honestly been almost a month ago.
Understanding it’s hard for students to get a full 60 minutes of exercise daily if they aren’t an athlete was something I had trouble with. Because I went to such a small school, it’s hard for me to get a grasp on the fact that not everybody is an athlete. Having said that, I believe it’s much harder than it seems to get students active during the day. One of the ideas that I read about was having students take physical breaks in the classroom. Shot ones, between five and twenty minutes. I think that this would work in younger classrooms, but how do you expect to take twenty minutes out of a hour-long class period for your students to regroup? It’d make teaching that much harder, especially if every teacher did this.
Another idea that was brought up was to make an after school program that allows for students to participate in activities that promote healthy lifestyles. Where I come from, we had something like this that was run by the local recreation department, which I worked for. Every day, we would take students up to the community indoor pool. This was one of the easiest, most efficient ways of getting students the physical activities they need, because they didn’t even think they were getting exercise. With this program, however, came a grant from a local donor which allowed the recreation staff to be paid. It would be hard to convince teachers and faculty of a school to go over the top to get children something like this, especially on a salary-paid basis. Also, finding somewhere to take the kids that can be used year-round would be very difficult. We were lucky we had the local pool at our disposal.
I will agree 100% that students need to get the physical exercise that their bodies are craving, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. Having a CPAP means that there needs to be involvement all around, from teachers to parents. Inclusion, safety of students, and some sort of payment plan would be just a few of the bigger speed bumps a program like this would hit. It’s awful that these are issues in today’s schools, but there’s no way around it.