Promoting Physical Activity in School & the Community

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  • 0:04 Promoting Physical Activity
  • 0:58 SHAPE America
  • 2:54 Community Physical Activity
  • 4:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Are you aware of the many benefits that physical exercise can have on our schools and the surrounding community? In this lesson, we discuss ways to promote physical activity in both these venues and offer a variety of ideas to enhance health, fitness, and wellness.

Promoting Physical Activity

There are many ways to promote physical activity in both the schools and the surrounding communities. This is a worthwhile endeavor as physical activity has many positive benefits. Furthermore, childhood obesity is a rampant problem and many children at the age of only two are already overweight.

Many exercise physiologists believe obesity is a current epidemic in America, not only in the adult population, but also in the student population. Promoting physical activity can do many positive things for the citizens of the community and nearby schools, including:

  • Increased cardiovascular health
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Positive body image

Fitness activities cost money. Even something that might seem free, like a walking trail, costs money because of issues in clearing, drainage, and leveling. However, the schools and the community can partner with both profit-driven businesses and nonprofit organizations.

SHAPE America

The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) is now called SHAPE America. It is the main organization overseeing school fitness in America. The ultimate goal of SHAPE America is to empower 50 million students through physical education and health programs. It even offers a poster and activity set that teachers can receive and display in their classrooms. It also offers other tips, toolkits, and guidelines on its website. Let's take a look at some of their other ideas for physical activity.

Students tend to have a lot of pent-up energy, and often this can lead to unfocused behavior in the classroom. A teacher could have the students jog in place for a minute or do some jumping jacks. Both activities can be done at the students' desks and require little additional space.

Not every student is good enough to make a competitive school team. However, parents and teachers can promote sports, such as walking, swimming, kickball, or dodgeball, as after-school sports. If the school will allow it, these activities may also be fit in before school, during lunch, or recess.

A nascent idea in some school districts is to actually assign activity homework in much the same way that regular homework is doled out. The student could be required to walk for 30 minutes, or do 15 pushups and 15 situps. This also offers a chance for the parents to get involved.

Schools can also sponsor activity fairs that host events in their gymnasiums. One of the most popular fitness events is the 5K (3.1 mile) race that a school could sponsor. There can even be trophies and ribbons handed out.

Many years ago students used to walk to and from school, but today it is estimated that only five percent of students do so. The majority of students ride the bus, while some are driven by their parents. One way for the student to get exercise is to walk or bike to and from school each day. This concept is known as active transport and there is even a National Walk to School Day in October and a National Bike to School Day in May.

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