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!

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)

UNICEF Kid Power…Promoting Activity and Charity

The UNICEF Kid Power Band is a partnership between UNICEF, Star Wars, and Target, and offers kids the chance to “unlock” food for malnourished children through activity. The idea combines the need for physical activity engagement among children in developed countries and the need for food for children in developing countries. One might hope that funds to feed malnourished children would be provided regardless of corresponding activity levels if the funds are available, but this concept does provide motivation to individuals with the band…and teaches children about giving to others. For more information, see the UNICEF Kid Power site. There is also a 44 second video to promote the program and to encourage kids to get active!


Students’ Health Habits During Summer

An interesting article was published this month entitled “Students’ eating and exercise habits over the summer break: The role of family income“. As a teacher, I’ve always been aware of the “summer backslide” academically. At the beginning of a new school year, academic standards are often higher than at the end of the previous grade, yet children have spent the summer away from the educational tutelage of school. This article offers the common-sense point of view that summer is also a time when health habits are different. Indeed, I was speaking with a teacher in line at Target recently who confessed that she, herself, ate more ice cream and worked out less during the summer because it was “vacation”. Adults and children, alike, may engage in less healthy behaviors during the summer months.  And, according to this article, this disconnect is more prevalent in children of lower socioeconomic status.

The take-away? For teachers, we must be aware that the beginning of the school year is a time to reinforce, not only academic standards, but also healthy behaviors. Remember, active students are engaged learners!

Pledge to get students active: Join Active Schools/Active Minds initiative

The Healthy Schools Program under Alliance for a Healthier Generation just launched their Active Schools/Active Minds initiative for the 2015-2016 school year.  And you can be part of it!  Signing up will provide you with tools and resources to help your students achieve the recommended number of physical activity minutes they need each day for academic and health benefits.

Link to taking action: Active School/ Active Minds

And check out this great PDF of “Ideas to Incorporate 10 More Minutes of Physical Activity Every Day

New Activity Ideas!

Health Powered Kids™, created by Allina Health, is a “free online resource designed to empower children and teens to make good choices about being active, eating well and balancing their lives.” One component of this website, which requires teachers to register for a free account to access materials, is Power Chargers. “Power Chargers are a collection of short exercises designed to give kids a quick activity break throughout the day. Choose from two, five or 10+ minute Power Chargers, depending on the time and space available.”

See our Materials page for links and more ideas on how to incorporate physical activity into your classroom!

New Research!

Norris et al. (2015) recently conducted a systematic review of classroom physical activity.  Findings indicate that classroom physical activity increases student physical activity levels and significantly improves or does not hinder educational outcomes with all results either positive or neutral.  This review calls for further research to gain a more complete understanding of the impact of classroom physical activity impact.

Naylor et al. (2015) systematically reviewed implementation of school-based physical activity interventions.  While studies varied in their assessment of implementation strategies and outcomes, the most influential factor to implementation success was time.

Burrows et al. (2014) determined that scheduled physical activity is associated with better academic performance.  In this sample, about 80% of students exercised for less than two hours per week.  Students who reported more than four hours per week of exercise were significantly more likely to perform about the 50th percentile in standardized academic achievement tests.

Katz, Mulder, and Pronk (2014) used worksite wellness Sit-Stand results as a method of improving student behavior and learning.

Chaput, Carson, Gray, and Tremblay (2014) proposed the importance of all movement behaviors in a 24 hour period for overall health of children.

See our Research Page for full abstracts.