Any time is a great time to introduce a lifelong love of physical activity to your students. By instilling the importance of regular physical activity in children when they’re young, you can help build a foundation for future physical health. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, so there’s no better time to get students moving while teaching them how to make physical fitness a fundamental part of their lives.
Benefits of Lifelong Physical Activity
Here are just a few of the long-term benefits of staying physically active throughout life:
- Improved bone and heart health, including a lower risk of heart disease
- Better general muscular fitness and function
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer
- Better or improved cognitive function
- Lower risk of falls in older age
- Lower levels of stress
- Prevention or combat of obesity and other chronic health conditions
Three Ways to Get Students Moving and Active
By making it more about doing something enjoyable and fun, physical activity and exercise can easily be introduced in a way that will be appealing to children. Here are a few suggestions for getting your class interested in being active.
Organizing students into teams for fun group sports is a great way to encourage fitness. It will also give them an introduction to a sport they may love and continue to play outside of school. Some popular examples of sports that keep you moving include kickball, volleyball, and basketball.
Another good way to motivate your students to participate is to add an element of friendly competition. Have your students each take a turn jumping rope for as long as they can without making a mistake. Then encourage them to try and beat the highest record. Or set up a relay race, where students must meet and complete physical challenges to move on.
Encourage students to think of simple, daily physical activities they can share at home with their families, like taking a walk or going on bike rides together. You could be helping them build good fitness habits from an early age. Families that engage in physical activities they all enjoy together are more likely to stick to them. It’s also a good way to break kids away from too much screen time with tablets, computers, or TV.
Student Physical Activity Goal: 60 Minutes
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children get 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day, in addition to a balanced, healthy diet, to gain the most health benefits. Take advantage of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month to help your students start building a healthier future today!