What You Need to Know
Fitness in today’s world is very important, a little bit of physical activity can keep you fit, healthy and also help you to remain sharp with your mind. Studies show that when children's exercise and fitness needs are met, children are more able to learn and achieve. Given the growing epidemic of obesity and the link between physical activity and academic performance, parents and schools must work together to make quality daily physical education a priority in schools and to give children more opportunities to be physically active throughout the school day.
Unfortunately, the trend is that children are becoming less physically active:
- In 1969, 42 percent of children ages 5 to 18 walked or biked to school; in 2001, only 16 percent did.
Almost all public elementary schools schedule physical education for their students, but only 17 to 22 percent (depending on grade level) provide physical education on a daily basis.
About two-thirds of young people in grades 9 to 12 are not engaged in recommended levels of physical activity. Daily participation in high school physical education classes dropped from 42 percent in 1991 to 33 percent in 2005.
In 2005, only about half of students in grades 9 to 12 attended physical education classes on one or more days in an average week when they were in school.
In 2005, more than a third of high schoolers reported watching three or more hours of television per day on an average school day.
This inactivity is not only harming children's health but affecting children's academic success. Physical activity improves children's academic performance.
Studies show that providing more time for physical activity (by reducing class time for academics) can lead to improved test scores, particularly in the area of mathematics. Physical activity programs have also been linked to stronger academic achievement, increased concentration, and improved reading and writing test scores.
Children who have daily physical education classes exhibit better attendance and have a more positive attitude about school.
Children who spend less time in other subjects in order to allow for regular physical education have been shown to do equally well or better in academic classes.
Regular exercise will make the whole family healthier. Plus, exercising as a family is a great way to spend time together. Below is some advice to keep in mind as your family increases its daily physical activity.
Setting Realistic Goals
Setting goals is an important step in starting a fitness program. Keep in mind that the goals you set should be reasonable and realistic. Using the SMART system will help you set reachable goals.
- Specific: Be able to run three miles
- Measurable: Log activity each week
- Action-oriented: Run/walk for 40 minutes three times a week
- Realistic: Run a 10-minute mile by the end of the month
- Timely: I want to be able to do this by the end of the month
Bike Safety Tips
Bicycling can be a great way for families to increase their amount of physical activity. and it's fun. The following tips can help you and your family stay safe on your bikes:
Be sure to fix anything that might be broken or wrong with your bike.
Always wear a bicycle safety helmet.
Wear brightly colored clothing so that others can see you better.
- Remember: One seat = one rider!
Keep both hands on the handlebars.
Walk your bike across busy intersections.
Look left, right, left for traffic at stop signs and on driveways before riding out into the street.
Obey traffic signs and lights.
Ride on the right-hand side of the street in the same direction as the flow of automobile traffic.
Always use hand signals when stopping or turning.
Be aware of surrounding traffic.
When riding with others, ride single file.
You should wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. In the event of a fall or crash, bicycle helmets reduce the risk of brain injury by almost 90 percent.
School Wellness Policies