Benefits of Physical Activity Justify Time Away from Academics

In pursuit of her master’s degree, a student at the College of Brockport presented a synthesis entitled “Physical Activity Events for Children: Do the Benefits Justify Time Away from Academics?”

Her conclusion? Yes!

Physical activity positively impacts students’ physical health, cognition, behavior, and academic performance. Time away from academics to engage in movement can actually improve academic outcomes, providing further support for getting kids moving at school.

Read the synthesis here.

Moving through the Ages: Connecting Students and Seniors through Activity

In Norwalk Public Schools, an innovation physical educator tried something new.

By partnering with a local senior living community, physical education class became multi-generational once per week. For the duration of the academic school year, seventh grade students led seniors in age-appropriate movement. Students took ownership of the program, and seniors began scheduling around the school visit to ensure they could attend.

This opportunity to connect was mutually beneficial, and extended benefits of physical, social, and psychological health to both age groups. Read more about the program here.

LiiNK Project as SXSW Session – Vote Now!

The SXSW EDU Conference & Festival, which “cultivates and empowers a community of engaged stakeholders to advance teaching and learning”, will take place in Austin on March 5-8, 2018.

There is a PanelPicker Community Voting process for speakers at this conference, which offers TED Talk type presentations. Dr. Debbie Rhea from the LiiNK Project, needs your vote to be able to share “Unstructured Play: The Ultimate Classroom”. The LiiNK Project “is a research-based intervention providing unstructured outdoor physical activity breaks and character development lessons to K-3 classrooms”.

Watch a video on the LiiNK Project and vote now…

June is National Great Outdoors Month!

I will admit I was unaware, until today, that June is National Great Outdoors Month! I do think the outdoors are great, though, and am happy to promote this initiative. More information can be found here.

To commemorate the great outdoors, SHAPE has informed me about several helpful infographics provided by the CDC to promote activity. These great resources, Get Moving! Screen Time vs. Lean Time, offer age-specific activity ideas, many of which are outdoor pursuits.

For 8-10 year olds: Click here

For 11-14 year olds: Click here

For 15-18 year olds: Click here

This month, let’s all decrease screen time and GET MOVING. Then let’s keep it going all summer long!

Let’s Move Interactive Infographic – Great Resource!

Let’s Move! Active Schools, the initiative to engage American youth in the recommended levels of physical activity at school, has recently released an interactive infographic that compiles resources, programming, training, and funding opportunities for all five realms of school-based physical activity: physical education, before and after school activity, staff involvement, family and community engagement, and, of course, during school activity.

The programs and resources listed in the “Physical Activity During School” component link to external sites, so that teachers can easily access information. While most of the listed programs and materials require purchase, it is a nice overview of available resources. (More of the resources are available at no cost than the programs, although some programs offer samples.) In addition, the options may spark ideas for increasing student movement that teachers could independently modify and implement in their own classrooms or schools. For those teachers who are interested in implementing activities that require funding, there is also a list of available grants to increase school-based physical activity.

Check out the infographic, included on our Resources page, and directly available here!

The Daily Mile: “So Simple, It’s Brilliant”

Runner’s World, not a place I normally go for news, published an article that I read today called “So Simple It’s Brilliant: Schools Worldwide Buy Into ‘The Daily Mile'”. I posted the article on our News page, but also wanted to highlight it here, based on two quotes from the article.

  1. “The idea was to improve fitness and social and emotional health, and to combat obesity. … Fifteen minutes, outside, every day. No gym clothes, no fancy facility, no competition, no rigid schedule, no additional staff, no cost.”
  2. “While in the early stages, scientific studies show Daily Milers have improved sleeping and eating patterns, improved physical fitness and scores in math and working memory, and reported being happier in school.”

These reported effects, combined with the simplicity of the program, support adoption in more schools around the world. We can start one classroom at a time! The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…literally.

The Global Matrix 2.0: 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

The Global Matrix 2.0 is a report card that grades physical activity comparatively across 38 countries. Tremblay and colleagues (2016) provide an introduction to the matrix, including its history, in this short article. This introduction opens a supplemental issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health that provides readers with summary papers from all 38 countries who participated in the survey in a format that enables comparisons. The United States abstract can be found on our Research page, in the second section, but all of the articles can be accessed here.

One possible take-away from these data are that, globally, we have room for improvement in achieving recommended levels of physical activity. While classroom physical activity was not a specific component assessed in the matrix, there is evidence to support classroom physical activity as a viable method of increasing movement in children, which we know has multiple benefits. The matrix does address the need for support for physical activity and, as educators, we are in a unique position to support our students to live active, healthy lives.

Why did the tofu cross the road?

To prove he wasn’t chicken!

Credit for this joke goes to Michele Rusnak of the Austin Independent School District. It was shared during a presentation on coordinated school health (CSH) programs at the American School Health Association (ASHA) conference last week. Coordinated school health is an eight-component system that, since its inception, has been expanded into the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.

Austin ISD is a model of how a coordinated program can impact the health and wellness of students through teamwork and collaboration among faculty, staff, district personnel, and community resources. Physical activity is one important component of the WSCC model and AISD provided materials, resources, and services to promote physical activity opportunities for students throughout the school day. For more information on their program, see the AISD website.

New Canadian 24-hr Integrated Guidelines!

We are all likely familiar with the nutrition guidelines and the physical activity guidelines for both youth and adults. Recently, however, Canada has created new guidelines that integrate physical activity, sleep, and sedentary behavior. The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (aged 5-17) addresses four Ss: sweat, step, sleep, sit. These new guidelines provide a more holistic recommendation for overall health.

“For optimal health benefits, children and youth (aged 5–17 years) should achieve high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour, and sufficient sleep each day. A healthy 24 hours includes:

  • Uninterrupted 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged 5–13 years and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years, with consistent bed and wake-up times;
  • An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities. Vigorous physical activities and muscle and bone strengthening activities should each be incorporated at least 3 days per week;
  • Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured light physical activities;
  • No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time;
  • Limited sitting for extended periods.” – the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP)

For more information about the guidelines:
Integrating physical activity, sleep and sedentary behaviour — a world first! Sept. 1, 2016 (Link to article)
24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (Link to guidelines)

What is Classroom Physical Activity? (repost)

We are experiencing some technical difficulty that makes older posts, such as this one, inaccessible. With the start of the new school year, this information is important to disseminate to teachers who may wish to try incorporating movement into their classrooms! 

While it can be assumed that classroom physical activity is physical activity in the classroom, it is important to make the distinction between this and physical education. Classroom physical activity is movement in the general education classroom facilitated by the classroom teacher. It can be categorized into three general areas:

  • Procedural activity: This is task oriented.  For example, allowing students to get up and sharpen pencils, or walk to turn in an assignment at a designated turn in basket.
  • Structured activity: This is whole-class engagement in physical activity unrelated to academic instruction.
  • Content-based activity: This is when physical activity is integrated into the academic lesson.

When incorporating physical activity into your classroom, consider how each type of activity may best suit your classroom, your students, and your teaching methods.

Note: Classroom physical activity should not be used as either reward or punishment! Rather, it is simply part of the learning process.