May 7, 2016

Tips to Celebrate National Physical Fitness & Sport Month

There seem to be months for just about every cause nowadays and May is no different! Something near and dear to my heart is Physical Fitness and Sport Month, which is going on right now!

It's not too late to talk to your students, colleagues, and community about the importance of physical fitness. In fact, with state testing approaching for many of us, especially those in Virginia, educating on the importance of physical fitness can help students reduce stress and anxiety during test season! Keep reading to learn about the purpose of Physical Fitness and Sports Month, as well as how you can get your students, faculty, and community involved.

Why is Physical Fitness and Sports Month Important?

     According to the Center for Disease Control {CDC} 34.9 percent of adults in the United States are classified as obese. When we look at adults who are also classified as overweight that percentage double to 68.6 percent. The CDC also reports that 60 percent of adults do not participate in enough physical activity.  The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System found that 13.7 percent of high school students were obese, while 16.6 were classified as overweight. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are $190.2 billion, which is 21 percent of the annual medical spending in the United States. Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs annually. By promoting healthy habits to our students, faculty, and community, we can help build the foundation for a healthier population!

What are some benefits of regular physical activity?

  • Improve muscular fitness, bone health, and heart health
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes, and some cancers
  • Lowers the risk of falls and improves cognitive functioning
  • Improved mood, happiness, and quality of life
What are some social benefits of participating in sports?
  • Sportsmanship
  • Enhanced cooperative skills
  • Improved communication
  • Improved discipline
  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Honesty
What are some simple changes students, faculty, and the community can make?
  • Take a walk after dinner as a family.
  • If you're a pet owner, walk the dog an extra block or take a longer route.
  • Perform simple body weight exercises during television commercials.
  • Join a gym.
  • Visit a local park and walk along the nature trails.
How can you promote Physical Fitness and Sports Month in school?
  • Emphasize the importance of physical fitness with your students. This can be done through a simple comprehensive goal setting lesson.
  • Work with core content teachers to promote physical activity in their classroom through brain and activity breaks.
  • Create and place posters throughout the school building and provide copies for each teacher to place in their classrooms.
  • Host a school-wide/community event: This could include a 5k, run/walk event, host a field day or healthy youth day, schedule a class field trip to a local facility to take an exercise class, or encourage students/staff to join sports leagues in the community.

What are some resources for brain break activities in the classroom?

GoNoodle is an online site that allows teacher and student login for physical activities. You can also add your own videos straight from YouTube! They have guided dancing, exercise videos, free dance, yoga/stretching, songs, KidzBop, and so much more!

Just Dance has an awesome YouTube channel full of guided dance videos to current songs kids love! Most of the videos are edited for language, but some of the dance moves in certain songs may not be age appropriate (depending on your classroom). I recommend previewing any video prior to playing it in class.

     If you are looking for more resources on how to promote Physical Fitness and Sports Month in your school, check out the US Department of Health and Human Resources here.

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