Students don't need to run around a track to get healthy, they can play outdoors, join sports teams, go for a hike ... the possibilities are endless. Let's show them exercise can be fun!
The World Health Organization has prepared some physical fitness facts that pertain to young people:
Physical Fitness Facts
- Children and youth ages 5 – 17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity daily.
- Amounts of physical activity greater than 60 minutes provide additional health benefits.
- Most of the physical activity should be aerobic. Vigorous-intensity activities should be incorporated, including those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least three times per week. The bone-loading activities of young people can include playing games, running, turning or jumping.
Benefits of Physical Activity for Young People
Appropriate practice of physical activity helps young people:
- Develop healthy musculoskeletal tissues.
- Develop a healthy cardiovascular system.
- Develop neuromuscular awareness.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
Psychological Benefits of Physical Activity
- Improved control over symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Increased social development by providing opportunities for self-expression, building self-confidence, social interaction and integration.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants adults you to know you can make a difference!
- Encourage your students to make small changes, such as taking a walk after dinner or going for a bike ride.
- Make physical activity a part of every student's day.
- Spread the word about this important month.
- Bring in speakers to educate your students about the importance of being active.
As you can see, physical activity has a broad reach and generates numerous benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012 more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Let's use National Physical Fitness and Sports Month to help turn this statistic around!
And, it is worth noting that being physically fit may lead to higher academic performance. It's a win-win!
Written by Lisa Stickler, staff writer for AfterSchool Today magazine.