National Physical Education & Sport Week
May 1st through 7th is National Physical Education Week and its mission is to invoke a call to action to recognize the value and importance of having physical activity and physical education in the lives of kids and adults. With hashtags like #Shape50million and #MoveinMay this week kicks off National Physical Fitness and Sports Month which is sponsored by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.
Of course, all of us need to engage with fitness and movement activities throughout the year. Campaigns like this one help to reactivate our interest in physical activity because most of us can easily slack off. A theme like this and organizations like HealthCorps help to creatively engage students, teachers and parents with exercise and fitness education and opportunities.
The core platform of the “50 Million Strong by 2029” highlights SHAPE America’s commitment to get preschoolers engaged with fitness, so by the time they graduate high school in 2029, they are enjoying the healthy payoff from an active life. Parents can help by modeling the very behaviors we want to see in young children. If parents exercise and set an example, their kids will likely embrace similar habits without too much resistance. If families emphasize physical playtime on the weekends, kids will be more likely to get involved in sports activities without push back.
Early childhood education has to include lessons that discuss and encourage fitness and exercise. Kids need ample physical playtime during school hours and after school hours. Parents need to join the experience rather than just sit on the sidelines. Teachers need to get kids moving during the day despite the limited resources and time that they have.
Some easy tips to help kids to get moving:
• Not every child likes organized sports so consider simple activities like freestyle dancing, running, climbing rocks or other physical activities that allow free movement.
• Parents can play a game of catch, hopscotch, tag, take a walk with or bike with their child.
• Get creative and encourage your child to “move like an animal” with movements like “crouch and spring” to mimic a tiger, run like a gazelle, jump like a monkey, or hunt like a lion. They can learn about animals while they have fun imitating these animal moves.
• For every 30 minutes of TV or sitting time, kids need to get up and move for 30 minutes. Chores or playtime should be the two activities they can choose from.
• If they look up to a sports figure or some other celebrity who exercises, emphasize the link to their own fitness possibilities and use it as motivation. Make exercise and fitness hip and cool.
• Give your child choices so they feel a sense of being in charge of their physical activity.
May 4th is also the start of National Bike to School Week. This is a great opportunity to get your kids walking or biking to and from school!!