Why Get Physical?
This summer, HealthCorps coordinator Clare Parks is blogging about her experience at Camp Pennbrook.
We’re nearing the end of July and all of us at Camp Pennbrook are wondering where the time has gone—camp is more than halfway done! We’ve had an exciting couple of weeks learning how to maintain a fitness plan at home and how to identify our strengths to develop our personal “brand.”
Last week, in our lesson that blended, “Why Get Physical?” and “Working Out Weekly,” we brainstormed the benefits and barriers of exercise, and how to overcome those barriers once campers return home and the work of prioritizing physical activity is in their hands. First, we established that regular exercise boosts our mood, increases our energy levels, raises our self-esteem, increases our ability to be social and meet new people, and helps us prevent disease. We then agreed that most of the time, the biggest barrier to working out and receiving all of these amazing benefits is how quickly we lose motivation. This is why it is so important to set physical activity goals and schedule our workouts ahead of time! Setting goals holds us accountable, and makes us more likely to stick to our plans in the long term. If we base our daily decisions on whether or not each choice will move us closer towards our goals, we are much more likely to make choices that are in our best interest. Additionally, we agreed that it’s our job to schedule our workouts into each day as if we would an important meeting or a class. If we designate a block of time each day to our fitness, from heading to the gym to taking a walk outside, it becomes a part of our routine that we’ll soon be unwilling to change.
We also identified the five components of fitness, including cardiovascular endurance, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. I made some of my campers do high knees for two minutes to demonstrate their cardiovascular endurance, even after they had morning full of cardio classes—can you believe they came back to my classroom after that?! Then, we took a quick quiz to identify our Exercise Personality before integrating our results into our weekly workout schedule. Campers could either be competitive, solitary, social, or relaxed exercisers, and many of the girls were psyched to find out how realistic their results were! They then worked on their own to include that into their workout plan—social exercisers, for example, were sure to include a variety of fun, group fitness classes or team sports. Our productive discussion helped the campers feel confident in their capacity to maintain healthy levels of fitness on their own—one teen camper told me that she had never felt confident in her ability to stick with a fitness plan until we had this lesson together! The overall take-home message was that we should be engaging in fun, entertaining sources of exercise because we LOVE our bodies, not because we hate them!
This week, we learned how the choices we make each day affect our brand, or the image of ourselves that we put out into the world, in our blended lesson of “Brand of You” and “Find Your Strength.” We are the CEOs of our own brand, and we’re in charge of marketing ourselves, the same way that any big company or public figure markets their image. We all make poor choices and they certainly do not define us, but the more poor choices we make, the harder it is to revamp our brand. We filled out a personal inventory to narrow down our likes and dislikes, and to determine the qualities we love about ourselves as well as those we need to work on. The campers then developed their own brand with a drawing, a logo, a slogan, a famous quote, or all of the above! They were instructed to pick 3 positive adjectives they want to share with the world that had nothing to do with physical appearance or material possessions. They did a beautiful job designing their brands and sharing their message with their peers. The qualities that popped up the most were kindness, strong relationships, and perseverance. It’s clear that these girls are really getting to know themselves as they integrate nutrition and fitness into their lifestyles!