Category Archives for Physical Education

10 Unique Individual Sports Your Students Will Love

There are a wide variety of unique individual sports that students will love to try. Team sports are great because they teach kids how to get along and relate well to others, but individual sports have many benefits too. They can breed independence and confidence in children and adolescents, among other qualities. Individual sports allow the athlete to progress at their own pace and set personal goals that won’t affect teammates. They can compete against themselves without worrying about disappointing anyone, which can be a great relief for students. The importance of physical activity to children’s health is important to note, too. This article will explore the following ten individual sports, some of which might be fun to try in your next physical education class:

  • Martial arts
  • Kickboxing
  • Fencing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Wrestling
  • Running
  • Skiing or Snowboarding
  • Cycling
  • Golf

1. Martial Arts

It’s easy to see why many kids are picking up martial arts and sticking with it. The sport is all about codified systems and traditions of combat practice, with various levels (signified by the different colored belts in karate, for example). Martial arts has mental and spiritual components and physical aspects, making it popular for kids who are looking for something different than the average sport. They also offer lessons on self-defense, which every student should know. Students would be excited to learn some martial arts moves in their next gym class.

2. Kickboxing

Kickboxing is an outstanding individual sport that you can introduce your students to during physical education classes. It’s a great option because you don’t need any materials or equipment to participate in kickboxing, and it will get your students’ heart rates up. Kickboxing, like martial arts, is also an opportunity for students to learn some self-defense techniques. Moves like jabbing and uppercutting will give them physical strength while clearing any thoughts that might be distracting them.

3. Fencing

Fencing is a lesser-known individual sport, but chances are your students will love trying it. Fencing requires more equipment than the other individual sports mentioned so far because you’ll need to make sure your students have padding and helmets to wear since swords are involved. There are various strategies and techniques associated with fencing that will stimulate students mentally, and they will be eager to learn more about the sport. Fencing is fun because it’s a competitive sport, too, though you’re only competing against one other individual.

4. Swimming

Swimming is a classic option in the world of individual sports. There are chances, of course, to make swimming more of a team effort with relay races. But for the most part, swimming is for individuals to compete against each other and their best times. Getting a personal record, or PR, is always something fun to strive for because you’re competing against yourself. Swimming is also a great life skill for students to learn because they will be safe whenever they are near water. Knowing how to do basic strokes, tread water, and float could come in handy if they ever find themselves in a body of water in an emergency.

5. Tennis

Another excellent individual sport is tennis. Of course, you will need a court to play an actual tennis game, but you can start by teaching your students the techniques in any gym or large outdoor space. Like many of the other individual sports mentioned, tennis is a lifetime sport. Starting students young is a great idea because they can continue to play it for the rest of their lives. Tennis can be played in pairs, but it is considered an individual sport for the most part. Teach your students how to score correctly, what the different lines on the court mean, and the various racquet techniques, and they’ll be well on their way to becoming tennis pros.

6. Wrestling

Wrestling might not be for everyone, seeing as it’s most popular with boys and young men at the moment. But that could change if women are introduced to the sport at a younger age. Wrestling is typically done in a room with special mat floors to cushion any injuries that could occur due to the physical nature of the sport. If you’re trying wrestling with students, make sure they have a handle on the rules, etiquette, and techniques before you start. Pair students by size to make sure there aren’t any uneven match-ups, otherwise, it won’t be fun for all the students.

7. Running

Whether it’s cross country or track, running is another excellent individual sport to introduce to your students. It’s so simple and easy, too, because most students are natural at it. Training only requires a good pair of tennis shoes and a track. If your school doesn’t have a track available, try using the gym or playground and set up a course for the students. You can start by having them run a certain distance or for an allotted amount of time. Running is another sport that will age well because it’s a great stress reliever, so it can help students’ mental health. Getting your students’ heartbeats up will help them physically and mentally.

8. Skiing or Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding are individual sports that can be done in the wintertime if you live in the right climate. Though not the most inexpensive sport, it’s a great option for individuals who would rather compete against themselves than their teammates. Skiing and snowboarding require different skills and techniques, but they both provide great physical exercise and a mental reprieve from everyday life stresses. Students might enjoy trying cross country skiing first because it’s a less expensive activity that can be done at a nearby park or golf course.

9. Cycling

Cycling is an individual sport that you might not think of initially. Students can compete in cycling competitions or even triathlons, combining the skills they’ve learned in swimming, running, and cycling. It’s a great individual sport, mainly because students can enjoy leisurely bicycling or do it for sport. The workout will accelerate their heart rate and work their muscles.

10. Golf

Like tennis and swimming, golf is an individual sport that many people recognize as a lifelong activity. Not many people get into it at a young age, but it’s a sport that requires a lot of concentrated practice to improve. Try introducing golf to your students and see if it interests them. You can teach them the basics of swinging a golf club, the variety of clubs and when it’s appropriate to use them, and the etiquette that goes along with the sport.

Benefits of Individual Sports

Helping your students discover new and exciting individual sports could be a great benefit to them. They will learn how to be competitive and challenge themselves to do better at each match, race, or meet. There are so many unique individual sports to try, and your students will have fun trying them out to see what they like!

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

6 Socially Distant Physical Activities to Perform When You’re Back On-Site

As children return to school and classrooms find some sense of normalcy, it’s essential to continue with social distancing to keep everyone safe. Thankfully, physical activities can easily be performed while kids remain socially distant, especially in large spaces like a gym or outdoors. A few activities are better suited to safety, which we will explore in this article. Physical activity is an essential part of children’s daily routine, and they should be getting at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Incorporating physical activities into their school or after school routine will ensure all children stay healthy and fit.

Importance of Physical Activity

According to the Center for Disease Control, kids are actually recommended to participate in 60 minutes of activity a day. Many kids don’t reach that marker, so naturally building it into their day is a great idea. Incorporating physical activities into the school day and afterschool programs can have significant benefits for children. Even if kids are distance learning, they can participate in physical activity classes online. Exercising has a wide variety of benefits for kids, including:

  • Enhancing physical well-being.
  • Strengthens muscles and bones.
  • Reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, and other diseases.
  • Improves endurance and flexibility.
  • Fosters positive mental health and well-being.
  • Enhances motor skills, hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and dexterity.
  • Creates consistency in routine.
  • Promotes healthy habits.
  • It helps children learn new skills and make friends through group activities.
  • Builds confidence.
  • Improves social and emotional skills.

Socially Distant Activities

Even though you’re back on site, you might not return to all the regular physical activities you used to facilitate for the kids. Since social distancing measures are in place to keep everyone safe, you’ll have to extend the same thoughtfulness to the activities you plan. Physical exercise can still be done while kids keep a distance from each other. There are many options that the kids will enjoy and that will give them all the same benefits they are used to from gym class.

1. Yoga

Yoga is no longer just for adults. It can be an excellent exercise for children and adolescents, helping them with strength, flexibility, and effective breathing exercises. Yoga is a great fitness idea for after school programs because it will help kids calm down after their busy school day and transition into homework or playtime in a relaxed manner. If you have space, try taking your yoga class outside. Otherwise, spread out the mats before the children arrive so that they are correctly socially distanced. Yoga can be done with facemasks on, and the only equipment you need is a mat. But if you don’t have mats, a soft floor is okay too.

2. Dancing

Even if dancing was not a part of your physical education as a child, it should be now. Dance is a great way to work up a sweat and get your heart pumping. It’s also fun and will keep children and teens entertained. You can let the kids do their own freestyle dancing while staying distanced or teach them a routine to learn. Dancing is a great physical activity that can be done in a safe way.

3. Workout Wheels

Kids will love workout wheels, and they can be done safely too. Create a virtual workout wheel that you can share with the children on a projected screen, then let them “spin” to see what activity they have to do. Make sure the kids are standing distanced from each other and choose only actions that the kids can do in their space. Here are a few good ideas of physical exercises the kids can do in place:

  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Star jumps
  • Mountain climbers
  • Funny dances
  • Jumping jacks
  • Stretches
  • Crunches

 

4. Track and Field

If you have an outdoor space available to you, or even a large gym space, then some track and field activities are a great idea for social distancing. Kids can take turns running for set distances or times while maintaining enough space between them. Pair off students into groups with similar abilities and see how far they can run during set time periods. The kids in the group can take turns so that while one is running, the other can recover.

Some of the field sports might be an excellent option as well. Students can safely practice long jumping while keeping a safe distance. Another option might be to have the kids try their hand at shotput or one of the other throwing activities. If you engage in these activities, just make sure you’re properly sanitizing any equipment used between students.

5. Obstacle Course

If there is anything kids love, it’s a good obstacle course. Getting kids to run around and move is easy when there’s an obstacle course involved. Even better if you time everyone, so they can see who is completing it the fastest. If it can be done safely, have the kids help you set the course up. Or set it up before their arrival and then explain how it works when they come to class. If you have a larger group, try making a few different courses and dividing them into small groups. Obstacle courses are great because kids can take turns and stay properly distanced on the sidelines. They don’t have to involve any objects kids would touch, making it a safe and easy activity option.

6. Kickboxing

Much like yoga and dance, students can participate in kickboxing while staying in one position the whole time. Kids and teens will both enjoy the rigors of kickboxing. It’s a great cardio activity that will get their heart pumping and strengthen their muscles simultaneously. Kickboxing can be great for teens, especially because you can incorporate self-defense training with the lesson. Show the students different ways they can defend themselves with kickboxing maneuvers.

Keeping Kids Active

Kids need to stay active to stay healthy, just like adults do. But getting children to move or exercise can sometimes be challenging, especially when team sports might be dangerous. These activities will allow kids to stay socially distanced while still having fun and getting their daily exercise in. They will feel much better once they’ve done some physical activity after school or in gym class. Kids will be better suited to stay active and form healthy habits if they start young.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 large group physical activity resource. Skillastics® makes it easy to organize, motivate, and engage students to move, learn, and love it. Skillastics® is an innovative technique of play designed around an oversize mat where up to 100 children can play at one time. There are 13 different Skillastics® Activity Kit themes, ranging from general fitness, sport skill development, character enhancement, and academic integration, including STEM and nutrition. The newest layer of Skillastics® resources includes 30-Day Virtual Physical Activity programs, including Fitness, Martial Arts, and Yoga.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

An Era of Inactivity: Why Children Need to Move

In the age of technology, it’s easy for adults, and especially children, to feel the temptation of tech, screens, and social media. All of the developments in new technology have had many excellent advantages, but it’s also had some nasty effects on society.

Thanks to research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we know that high amounts of screen time have negative consequences on childhood development. So, how can physical educators and after school program directors combat an era of inactivity in America’s youth? We dive into why children need to move — and how to actually get them to do it, too.

Healthy Children Need Regular Activity

We know that screen time negatively affects children’s health, but when screens and technology are everywhere around us, it’s difficult to unplug and get active. Physical educators, teachers, and after school program coordinators are responsible for teaching kids about the importance of regular exercise to grow to be strong, healthy, and have good eating and exercise habits.

Physical Benefits of Exercise for the Body

You’ve undoubtedly heard it before; regular exercise helps children improve their health and grow to have strong bones and big muscles. The CDC and World Health Organization both have their own recommendations for children’s daily exercise, which you can find here and here, respectively. In general, though, the consensus is that kids should receive at least 60 minutes of regular exercise occurring daily.

Children will indeed see immense benefits from regular physical activity, but there are even more benefits than just building muscle or big, strong bones. Regular physical activity for children also improves these other aspects of a child’s life:

  • Motor skills – Children learn the abilities for pre-determined movements to produce an outcome with maximum certainty.
  • Dexterity – Kids gain the skills to use their bodies with ease, resulting in improved manual dexterity.
  • Hand-eye coordination  – Children learn to process visual inputs, coordinate and control their eye movements, and then send signals to their hands to produce movements.

These aren’t the only positives of physical activity for children either; regular movement makes flexibility, dexterity, agility, and endurance improve. Strengthening and perfecting all of these necessary skills and exercises will make life easier for each student as they grow towards adulthood.

According to Harvard University, starting exercise as early as when a child is in their mother’s womb can positively affect the outcome of their adult lives. Now, that doesn’t mean that the fetus is going on a five-mile run before it’s even born. Researchers are simply suggesting that pregnant women who prioritize physical activity can positively impact their baby’s health. Harvard contests that healthy children turn into healthier adults, so it’s crucial to have adequate regular exercise in schools, recreational programs, and team sports during formative years.

Bettering Children’s Mental Health With Exercise

There are other significant health benefits to regular exercise in children beyond just the physical aspects. Physical activity is also a crucial tool that educators can use to improve students’ mental health and cognition.

When we work out, our body releases endorphins, which are a chemical that causes us to feel good inside and out. Increasing your levels of physical activity is linked to a better quality of life and improved mental health. Some other mental health benefits of exercise include:

  • Improved body image
  • More self-confidence
  • Reduction in anxiety and depression
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Increased cognition levels
  • Improvements in negative moods
  • Stress reduction
  • Greater cognitive skills

Childhood obesity is running rampant across our country, causing long-term health problems for many children and young adults. Obesity is linked to a wide range of mental health issues, so it’s crucial for physical educators and after school program directors to emphasize the importance of regular exercise to avoid getting to the point of obesity at all.

As you can see, after school activity is a must for children to have, so they can continue to grow strong and hone critical life skills. Educators around the country have to work extra hard to make physical fitness exciting, so children will maintain interest long enough to get the regular exercise necessary for a positive, healthy lifestyle.

Encouraging Movement in America’s Youth

Movement and exercise are essential for the health and well-being of our country’s children. With all of the distractions that technology creates, it can be challenging to get kids excited about exercising. Below, we look at three sure-fire suggestions for physical educators and after school program directors to kick students’ interest in physical activity into high gear:

1. After School Programs and Clubs

Afterschool programs and clubs such as the Boys and Girls Club of America are excellent resources that benefit children. Most programs enthusiastically encourage physical activity through games, team-building exercises, dancing sports, and more.

These programs are so great for getting kids involved in physical fitness because all of their friends participate, too. Did you know that over ten million American children belong to an after school program or club currently? When exercise just feels like having fun and hanging out with your friends, it’s easy to get excited and look forward to the activity.

Programs like the Boys and Girls Clubs span worldwide, with educators working tirelessly to promote healthy eating and exercise habits within their after school program curriculum.

2. Virtual Physical Activity Programs

Another excellent resource for educators emerging from the age of technology is virtual physical activity programs. These online tools teach children valuable skills through sports, exercise, mindfulness, and even concepts like science, tech, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

There is a wide variety of fun activities for children to enjoy, including:

  • Basketball
  • Karate
  • STEM Academics
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • Dance

These self-run programs include national experts in their chosen field.  One of Skillastics’ virtual physical activity programs most significant advantages is that it transitions seamlessly from online activity to on-site. This straightforward transition helps keep kids excited about the physical activity, giving them something so fun to look forward to when they come back into the classroom.

One of the most positive aspects of virtual physical activity programs is that they encourage both physical and mental fitness. Students aren’t just running around without a purpose. They have to put their brains to use, collaborate, and communicate to reach success in the activity. The programs are fun and easy to follow, so it hardly feels like learning and exercise at all.

If your school or program has concerns about the cost of virtual physical activity programs like these from Skillastics, there’s no need to worry. While budget cuts to physical education are creating a health epidemic in America’s youth, Skillastics is stepping up to help. Contact the team at Skillastics and see what grants, scholarships, or financial assistance are available to get these programs started in your district or afterschool activity.

3. Team and Organized Sports

Sports are a huge part of many families’ and children’s lives. Learning how to play ball with dad or the neighborhood buddies is a great way to mask physical fitness with a fun activity. After school programs, physical education classes, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, or other local recreation programs are a great starting point for getting your children involved in different sports.

Team sports are a great option because there are tons of opportunities to teach valuable life skills while still providing physical activity. As the name denotes, team sports allow kids ample time to work together towards a common goal. Playing on a local recreational team can take these skills to the next level for your child:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Respect
  • Problem-solving

Team sports are a fantastic way to get kids involved in regular exercise. Local recreational sports teams are filled with new faces and old friends from school or the neighborhood, meaning it’s easy to make friends and have a fantastic time while exercising.

If team sports, which typically involve physical contact, aren’t appealing or appropriate for a child, there are other options as well. Individual sports like tennis, track and field, swimming, skiing, ice skating, and more all involve the entire musculoskeletal system, ensuring that participants get a full-body workout whenever they practice or compete.

Conclusion

In the age of ever-changing and growing technology, it can seem like an impossible task to balance screen time and physical activity for children. Although it might seem complicated, both educators and parents must encourage physical fitness and exercise in students or children.

Regular physical activity is linked to improvements in mental health, physical health, cognition, and self-esteem. Give your students, program participants, or children the proper tools to lead a healthy and prosperous life into adulthood with resources like Skillastics that make any kind of physical activity fun. Contact Skillastics today to see how you can improve the quality of your students’ lives with Skillastics virtual physical activity programs.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

The History of Physical Education in the United States

Physical education history traces back to ancient Greece, but it exists all over the world today. Starting from a young age, children need to engage in regular physical activity to develop their minds and bodies. In the United States, P.E. is a crucial component of early childhood education, laying the foundation for a healthy lifestyle into adulthood.

Introduction to Physical Education

Physical education benefits a growing individual’s mind and body. Increasing physical activity allows students to focus more in school, prevents injury and disease, improves their self-esteem, and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, among other mental health benefits.

Even if they do not have daily P.E. class, students still benefit from learning about their body and ways to move. From there, they can nurture personal interests in different forms of activity, such as competitive sports, running, yoga, dance, or any other exercise type that they can commit to regularly.

The Evolution of Physical Education

In 386 B.C., P.E. began in ancient Greece. Plato is the one who invented physical education, hosting classes at his school titled Akademia. He understood the importance of teaching children about physical fitness, and students began learning it at age seven. Plato was a skilled wrestler, and he believed that education and physical activity combined helped one attain perfection.

Physical training helped prepare students for careers as warriors or athletes. Common sports included wrestling, boxing, and chariot races. Physical education classes helped progress Greek society, and eventually, word of them spread throughout the world.

P.E. for the American Soldier

It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that physical education started in the United States. Similar to Athens education, P.E. trained and educated soldiers for battle. After the American Civil War, schools enacted laws necessitating physical education programs in public schools to prepare future generations for war.

Nonetheless, schools eventually used these classes to take health seriously and offered more attention to physical health and development. World War I showed that ⅓ of military recruits were physically unfit for combat. The government then passed legislation to improve the quality of these courses.

Committing to America’s Children

By World War II, physical education became common for men and women to cultivate their physiques for combat and manual labor. Since the military draft rejected some men from childhood malnutrition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the National School Lunch Program to improve children’s nutrition.

Soon after, a national fear arose concerning the rapid weight gain of American children. President John F. Kennedy became an advocate for physical education and fitness in America, campaigning for it even before his election. Once in office, the President made it a goal to improve the nation’s physical fitness levels.

President Kennedy created a White House Committee on Health and Fitness. This committee had an annual Youth Fitness Congress with every United States governor. Incorporating the federal and state governments ensured the American people would recognize the national need for reform.

Many colleges also began offering courses to help students understand the human body, improve their physical capabilities, and increase their self-worth. Initially, girls leaned towards gymnastics as boys engaged in rougher sports. In 1975, the U.S. House of Representatives created an amendment to the Federal Education Act to prevent gender discrimination in physical education. Women could participate in more sports in their schools.

Physical education programs have expanded to inform students of all aspects of fitness, including strength, flexibility, endurance, body composition, and nutrition. Learning the basics of these pillars encourages a life of health and wellness. Imbalances may lead to injury and illness, but working on each of these areas reduces the risk of all-cause mortality, improves mental health and cognitive performance, and increases the quality of life.

At this time, 95% of high schools, 84% of middle schools, and 69% of elementary schools require physical education in the United States. Of the 50 states, 38 require school districts to follow physical education standards laid out in the National Standards for Physical Education, and 43 states have made physical education a mandatory part of the curriculum.

These national standards for physical literacy in K-12 physical education include:

  1. Having competence in various movement patterns and motor skills
  2. Applying knowledge of tactics, principles, concepts, and strategies related to performance and movement
  3. Showing the necessary skills and knowledge to acquire and keep a beneficial degree of physical activity and fitness
  4. Displaying responsible behavior socially and personally that respects themself and others
  5. Recognizing the benefits of physical activity for health, challenge, social interaction, personal expression, and enjoyment

Timeline of the History of Physical Education

  • Mid-1700s: Johann Bernhard Basedow, a German reformer, saw the benefits of physical activity firsthand and introduced it into the school curriculum. He also worked to modernize gymnastics.
  • Early 1800s: Johann Cristoph Friedrich introduced systematic physical exercises in German schools. He also developed gymnastics principles and published the first gymnastics textbook.
  • 1810: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the father of modern gymnastics, introduced many gymnastics activities into schools.
  • 1811: Jahn’s Berlin school began promoting gymnastics to other schools, developing gymnastics clubs around Europe.
  • 1820: Round Hill School became the first school to have a physical education curriculum, although it was primarily geared towards male students.
  • 1823: Catherine Beecher founded an early form of aerobics.
  • 1825: Charles Beck became the first official American P.E. teacher who taught German gymnastics.
  • 1825: Charles Follen opened the first college gym at Harvard University and the first public gym in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1861: The Normal Institute of Physical Education was founded in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1878: Dr. Dudley Allen Sargent started a high school gymnastics club, later instructing gymnastics at Yale College.
  • 1885: The American Physical Education Association was founded to support physical education in schools.
  • 1885: William G. Anderson held a meeting to form the Association for Advancement of Physical Education, training people to become professional physical educators.
  • 1896: First modern Olympics in Athens sparked many people’s interest in physical fitness.
  • Early 1900s: Many states passed physical education legislation requiring physical training in schools.
  • 1917: The American Physical Education Association created a Women’s Athletics committee to stimulate women’s interest in fitness.
  • 1950: Most United States colleges offered majors in physical education.
  • 1953: The Kraus-Weber tests stated that American children were less fit than European children.
  • 1955: President Eisenhower formed the Council on Youth Fitness in reaction to the Kraus-Weber test results.
  • 1957: The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance established the Youth Fitness Test.
  • 1961: President Kennedy reforms the Council on Youth Fitness into the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
  • 1972: Title IX banned sexual discrimination in schools for academics and athletics.
  • 1981: AAHPERD developed another health-related physical fitness test.
  • 1994: The nation established the Physical Best fitness testing program.
  • 2000: Congress approved the Physical Education for Progress Act bill.
  • 2001: Bush Administration imposed a moratorium on the PEP bill.
  • 2010: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama established a Task Force on Childhood Obesity and began the Let’s Move program to improve national health and increase physical activity.

Final Thoughts

As many schools continue to participate in distance learning, in-person physical education classes have taken the backseat. However, the rich physical education history displays just how imperative it is for molding young minds.

Physical education offers countless physical and mental health benefits. Not only does physical activity reduce your risk of disease, but it can also improve your grades and concentration in school. During these changing times, physical education will continue to evolve. Nevertheless, its importance remains paramount in ensuring our children’s health and society’s betterment as a whole.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

Physical Education Classes and Distance Learning: Can They Coexist?

The Coronavirus is creating serious challenges for educators across the country, and physical education teachers are far from immune. New social distancing standards and mask mandates make it difficult for school districts to provide meaningful in-school learning experiences both in regular classrooms and during physical education. While some states and cities are back to in-person schooling, others chose to adopt hybrid or entirely distanced learning environments.

Participating in online learning for physical education is uncharted territory for most teachers, students, and families. So, can P.E. classes and distance learning genuinely coexist? The answer is a definitive yes. In fact, running virtual physical activity programs can actually help improve other areas of a student’s life. Let’s take a closer look at how distance learning during Coronavirus can help keep students engaged and healthy in such strange, uncertain times.

Physical Education Facilitates Learning

It’s proven that physical education can positively impact student’s learning in other areas of study. Having a healthy and fit body during formative years can help improve other aspects of education. An active lifestyle is often responsible for:

  • Better brain cognition
  • Improved test scores
  • Higher grades overall
  • Increased concentration and attention span
  • Keeping kids engaged during other classes
  • Fostering confidence to answer questions
  • More accurate responses to in-class questions

Physical activity helps the brain function more efficiently and effectively overall. Plus, science shows that fitness plays a significant role in keeping kids mentally fit as well. Quarantine and isolation are attributed to negatively impacting young people’s mental wellbeing. Many children went weeks or months without seeing their school friends and favorite teachers. It’s no surprise that so many students are experiencing mental health struggles during the pandemic.

That’s why it’s crucial that children continue to participate in physical education classes during the pandemic, even if an online environment is the only outlet. Healthy minds and bodies will motivate students to make it through this strange time in the world’s history.

Adapting to the Difficulties of Distance Learning

Some physical educators are struggling with the switch to distance learning. Although at first, it may seem difficult to adapt to online learning, there is an abundance of resources available for physical education providers. For the most part, schools are sticking to these three main tools to supply schooling online:

  • Google Classroom or Google Meets
  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams

With any of these tools, it’s easy to integrate engaging virtual learning activities into your online physical education curriculum. If you need new ways to get kids excited about online physical education, there is no shortage of services to assist you. Explore these unique options to find fun features for your online classroom:

1. YouTube

One of the most accessible online tools available to teachers is YouTube. Although it’s not entirely dedicated to educational resources, you can still search this site for engaging videos that keep kids active and involved during online learning sessions.

Utilize YouTube to find fitness videos ranging from guided yoga or pilates to more intense exercise routines. With so much variety available, it’s easy to incorporate unique activities into your virtual curriculum. Switch things up and show students highlights from history-making sports games or teach them a new skill with comprehensive how-to videos. There’s no question that kids are already acquainted with the online tool, so they’ll enjoy having access to a familiar application during this time of uncertainty. The downside to these videos is that they may not be directed to students, and may be inconsistent rather than a consistent progression of learning.  Always keep this in mind when researching these resources.

2. Virtual Physical Activity Programming From Skillastics

Finding an online tool that easily integrates with online and in-person learning might seem challenging, but it’s quite simple in reality. Thanks to Skillastics’ innovative Virtual Physical Activity Programming, physical education providers can offer a wide variety of virtual activities that easily transfer to on-site learning.

This virtual tool is designed to accommodate an array of online learning platforms, including Google Classroom or Meets, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and even Canvas. Transform your physical education curriculum with an impressive range of offerings from Skillastics. Virtual physical activity programs available include:

  • Kickboxing
  • Basketball
  • Mindfulness
  • Martial Arts
  • Move N’ Groove
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Sport Stacking
  • STEM and Sports
  • And many more!

Your students will love to play with Skillastics’ virtual physical activity programs during online sessions. Plus, when transitioning back to an on-site environment, they’ll be happy to recognize the virtual games as part of their daily routine.

3. SHAPE America

If you’re still struggling with the transition to online learning, there’s no need to worry. With help from SHAPE America, you can easily find resources to assist you in adapting to online physical education classes. This organization supplies excellent ideas and unique methods to help transition to teaching through a screen.

The SHAPE America site offers helpful tips and tools to physical education teachers. Content is regularly updated, so educators can always find something fresh to get kids up and moving during online physical education classes.

Conclusion

Adapting to the challenges presented by the pandemic has posed serious difficulties for physical education providers. Luckily, there is a wide range of resources available to help teachers transition to distance learning.

With all of these fantastic tools and fun online activities, it’s evident that physical education and distance learning are coexisting just fine. Although it’s not the ideal situation, it is better to be safe than sorry and keep students secure at home as the pandemic continues to affect our country. Share the benefits of being active with your students even while remaining out of the classroom using virtual activities from platforms like YouTube or providers such as Skillastics. Students will soon be back in their typical learning environments, but physical education and online classrooms can continue to coexist until then.

CLICK HERE for the Skillastics® COVID Safety Guidelines.

To learn more about social distancing while staying physically active, email mailto:info@skillastics.com or call us today at (888) 842-7746.  For more resources to manage remote physical activity programs, head to www.skillastics.com.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

3 Smart Ways To Social Distance While Playing Skillastics®

We have all had to adjust to social distancing and learn to stay apart – as uncomfortable or odd as that may feel.  Sometimes, we forget that distance does not equate to isolation; we don’t need to be totally separate, just 6 feet. There is a big difference between social distance and social isolation. There is still much we can do from 6 feet apart!

Schools can still offer physical activity programs that get kids involved. With a few modifications, children can participate in many ways while still maintaining social distancing.

Here are just three ways that this can work:

1. Small Group Team Space

Children work well and learn best in groups. The ability for kids to share information and learn from one another is a powerful learning tool. When it comes to physical activities, it’s also much more fun. Since social distancing in large groups is difficult, small groups are optimal for maintaining distance while still participating in Skillastics activities. The large playing mat effortlessly defines the space and allows students to spread out around the board, keeping their distance from other kids.

2. Partners From 6 Feet Away

In partnerships, children can mirror one another to learn steps, help one another remember rules, and share their successes. The ability to partner gives kids more socialization and better opportunities to learn. As partners, kids can have fun while participating in physical activities and staying safe. Children in pairs can easily maintain their 6 feet. They can even work into their partnership a “watch-out” for their distancing to help each other stay apart.

3. Well-Defined Play Space

It can be hard to remember to keep distance, and some children may have difficulty remembering. The large play mat is an excellent visual reminder and placeholder to keep kids apart. Two students playing simultaneously have an easier time staying on opposite sides of the mat, and taking turns encourages children to stop and think about their spacing. The mat is also easy to clean after use with a simple sanitizing spray and wipe-down.

Finding A Way

We have come far learning about ways to stay safe, and it’s clear that masks, social distance, and handwashing keep us healthy. We can work within these new requirements to continue our lives, even if it’s not exactly the same or feels different. We can work with this! It’s a matter of staying aware, making smart choices, and putting safety first.

Skillastics Large Group Physical Activities has always offered kids a way to have fun while getting active, but it’s also become a safe alternative for keeping kids healthy, both physically and during COVID. The large play mat and a few modifications mean kids can still be active and stay safe.  

CLICK HERE for the Skillastics® COVID Safety Guidelines.

To learn more about social distancing while staying physically active, email mailto:info@skillastics.com or call us today at (888) 842-7746.  For more resources to manage remote physical activity programs, head to www.skillastics.com.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

5 Fun Fitness Tips for Your YMCA Program

It’s no easy task to engage children and teens in an active lifestyle. In recent years, as toddlers clutch tablets and keep their eyes glued to screens constantly, there has been a sharp uptick in incidences of childhood obesity. Young people desperately need exercise and healthy eating habits to achieve an overall sense of well-being and avoid severe health issues in their adulthood. After school activities or programs at the local YMCA can encourage kids to find the fun in fitness and healthy lifestyle habits.

How “The Y” Has Helped Families for Over 175 Years

The Young Men’s Christian Association, better known as the YMCA or “The Y,” was founded in 1844 on the principles of developing and maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. The YMCA has served over 45 million people in the last 176 years, and there are active programs in over 120 countries worldwide. You’ll likely find that your local YMCA offers a variety of programs for young kids and teens that emphasize the importance of improving several aspects of a healthy lifestyle, including:

  • Physical fitness
  • Art and creativity
  • Humanities
  • Social skills
  • Sexual health and education
  • Healthy diet choices

For nearly two hundred years, the YMCA has helped families across the world encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and mindset in their children. With fun, engaging programming, kids can feel empowered to take control of their body’s health.

5 Fun Fitness Tips for Your YMCA Program

Building healthy habits start in early childhood. Exercise is essential to the healthy development of children’s bodies and minds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that children and adolescents receive one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. One fantastic resource for incorporating fitness into children’s lives is through fun programs at a nearby YMCA location.

Integrate fun exercises and fitness activities into your YMCA programming, so children start to associate enjoyment with movement. Establishing health-conscious attitudes early on will (hopefully) lead to a lifetime of love for physical activity.

1. Set Goals

Setting specific goals for physical fitness helps kids to stay focused during different YMCA programs. Work with your program participants to set realistic, flexible, and achievable goals. When participants reach their goals, they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that inspires them to continue setting personal fitness goals outside of your program. Remember to celebrate the small wins and encourage each child as they continue to improve their physical fitness.

2. Go for Group Activities

Children learn a lot from their peers as their brains and bodies develop. Solitary exercise is still vital to a person’s overall well-being. However, group activities allow children to receive external affirmation and motivation. Group activities push your program participants to reach their greatest potential.

Utilize group activity kits for your YMCA program, which teaches kids about the importance of an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits, all in a fun and inspiring manner. A wide array of activity kits are available that focus on educating children about sports, nutrition, STEM, language, social skill, and self-improvement. Kids gain a lot of inspiration from each other when playing and exercising in groups. It’s a fantastic way to sharpen children’s social skills while strengthening their physical fitness as well.

3. Instill a Love for Sports

Something we know to be universally true is that people love sports. On every continent, you’ll find sprawling sports stadiums packed with fans on any given weekend. Every two years, the world stops to watch the best athletes compete in the summer and winter Olympic games. There are teams in almost every major U.S. city dedicated to playing baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and more.

These world-famous athletes didn’t pick up a ball later on in life and simply walk onto the field with immense skills. Their love for sports started from a young age, and they were encouraged to continue working on their skills throughout adolescence. The perfect place to start instilling a passion for sports early on is at the YMCA.

Encourage your program participants to take part in a variety of different sports to find one they love. The YMCA offers an excellent opportunity for kids to try out activities they might not otherwise have access to at home. If you notice a child taking particular interest in a specific sport, you can encourage them to seek out more serious teams in the area for them to join.

4. Make Time for Mindfulness

Healthy lifestyles hinge on much more than just exercise and nutrition. The YMCA was founded on the premise that people should better their bodies and their minds together. There’s a significant correlation between adequate physical fitness and improved mental health, so consider incorporating mindful exercises into your program. There are a variety of exercises you can utilize to motivate your participants to engage in mindfulness, including:

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Pilates
  • Meditation
  • Breathing exercises

5. Turn Playtime Into Exercise

It can be challenging to get kids involved in activities that are apparent modes of exercise. Things like running and lifting weights can seem unappealing to young people. Luckily, you can easily integrate exercise into your YMCA program without the participants even realizing it. No, this is not a trick; it’s simply the truth. There are tons of fun ways to turn playtime into an opportunity for physical fitness. Children won’t even notice that they’re burning off calories and strengthening their bodies because the following activities are so fun and engaging:

  • Jump-rope or double dutch
  • Playing tag
  • Capture the flag
  • Juggling
  • Musical chairs
  • Dancing
  • Simon Says

In the age of technology, some children might not even know these games exist. Your YMCA program is an excellent opportunity to teach kids classic games that involve running, jumping, and increasing their heart rates.

Conclusion

Exercise is essential in improving children’s physical and mental well-being. Participating in fitness activities and programs at places like the YMCA helps children develop a wide range of useful skills that last a lifetime. These programs provide children with a safe place to improve their social skills, motor skills, and lifestyle habits. Shop for new and exciting fitness activities to implement into your YMCA programming regularly so children can learn just how fun (and important) daily exercise is for their bodies and minds.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

Five Key Reasons Why Continuing Virtual Physical Activity Learning On-Site Is So Important

Everyone looks forward to the day when students can go back to school full-time. Parents, teachers, and students alike will be elated to return to normalcy!

Still, there are benefits to virtual learning that we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss. Even though we are excited for in-person learning and after school programs again, it shouldn’t mean that all virtual learning must disappear.

Here are five key reasons why it’s vital to keep virtual learning as part of After School Programs for Physical Activity:

1. An Affordable Long-Term Option

Budgets for after school programs may not always have room for a one-time specialist to work with students, and they may not have the ability to reliably re-hire someone each year. Worse, these budgets are often the first on the chopping block for cutbacks. By contrast, the Skillastics Virtual Physical Activity Programs are a fraction of the cost and can be used for years to come.

2. A Safe Option for Uncertain Times

Unfortunately, it’s become more apparent that the concerns of COVID-19 will continue to be around for some time; we will have to account for safeguards long-term. Children must maintain social distancing on-site. The flexibility of a virtual program allows creative uses so that programs can be used by home learners or onsite. For example, students can easily spread out in a gym and conduct physical activities led by the Skillastics Virtual Physical Activity experts from a shared screen or projection against a wall.

3. Better Quality Instruction

Maintaining a virtual physical activity program provides a connection to high-quality resources. Rather than substitute staff or teachers struggling to overcome an online learning curve, students receive proper, expert instruction when the regular instructor or format is not available. Rather than figuring out a new activity for students to learn, readily available on-demand lessons offer a wide variety of activities. A virtual physical activity program can be more robust and better quality than temporary or fill-in resources, whether conducted at home or on-site learning.

4. Conduit to Group Activities

Students without exposure to sports may never learn the rules of the games, leaving them behind when it comes to participating in group activities. Virtual learning allows children to bridge any learning gaps and creates a perfect segue into group activities. Independently, a student can learn all the fundamentals of basketball through Skillastics 30-Day Basketball Program. After students have learned ball-handling, dribbling, shooting, passing, and defense virtually, they will be more confident to participate in basketball games when the time comes.

5. More Than the Garden Variety

A significant advantage of maintaining a virtual physical activity program is the ability to move past the “usual” activities. The variety of Skillastics Virtual Physical Activity Programs exposes students to activities that they may never have thought to try or have access to in their area. This promotes lifelong physical activity options for all children of all abilities.

When On-Line Takes Place On-Site

Providing virtual physical activity programming on-site improves the lives of your staff, students, and anyone who manages programs. Email us today to discover how on-site virtual physical activity increases student participation and takes the worry away about engaging children.

Call (888) 842-7746 or email info@skillastics.com now – www.skillastics.com

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

Three Resources To Help With Physical Activity Amidst COVID-19

Before COVID-19 hit the United States, children had opportunities built into their school day to receive plenty of movement. Recess, physical education classes, after school physical activity programs, or athletic teams gave children many ways to stay active throughout their day. Now, with the challenges posed during the pandemic, it takes more effort by both instructors and family members to keep children healthy and involved in physical fitness.

Fitivities

Families can fit in fitness with Fitivities. Ideal for bigger groups or families, Fitivities are designed to get the whole crew away from screens and moving their bodies. The Fitivities board is entirely portable, making it easy to transport play from inside to outdoors. During good weather, families can turn an outing to the park into a real chance for physical activity. Fitivities can even be used right in your own backyard to provide exercise for your children during shutdowns. During bad weather, easily move the game indoors for continued play. The game pieces are robust and durable, readily withstanding playtime in a wide variety of places.

It is crucial for parents to engage in movement and activities with their children. When a child sees their parents enjoying physical activity, they are more likely to develop similar habits. When children think that being active is a chore or inconvenience, they are likely to resist or feel reluctant to participate. Fitivities offer opportunities to demonstrate that movement can be good for you and fun. The game includes plenty of exciting activities to keep your kids engaged and active without even realizing that it is exercise. Fitivities gives parents a chance to act as wellness role models by being physically active and showing that getting fit can be fun.

Virtual Physical Activity Programming

Since most of the nation is currently operating virtually, it’s vital to find ways to turn screen time into movement time too. The amount of screen time children will be required to fulfill during remote learning means an increase in the sedentary lifestyles most parents pushed against before COVID. Many parents often monitor or minimize the amount of time a child spends behind the television or computer. However, the current circumstances make circumventing screentime exceptionally difficult.

Even though virtual screen time is increasing, that doesn’t mean children must continuously be sitting around. There are resources available to develop programs that encourage children to move, even if they are online. Virtual Physical Activity Programming is available to provide full-body movement and engaging activities through a screen. This unique 30-day virtual program was designed specifically for remote delivery, meaning children can build useful, healthy skills even as they learn from home.

The flexibility of the program ensures that a movement schedule can take root in your child’s routine. The 30 days of activities can be dispersed 30 days in a row or spread out over a longer time. Lessons are easily incorporated into instruction, so children who learn remotely will be in the habit of including physical activity into their day by the time they return to school again. Kids will expect to move as part of their learning, instilling a natural inclination to incorporate movement into their daily lives into the future.

From yoga to martial arts, Virtual Physical Activity Programming offers children the opportunity to discover new interests during sessions that they may have never found or been provided under other circumstances. Children will gain exposure to expert instruction in physical activity experiences in the home, sparking new interests, or providing a foundation for a future passion. Instead of turning into sedentary learners, Virtual Physical Activity Programming has the potential to inspire lifelong movement.

SHAPE America

Teachers today are tasked with transforming in-person instruction into something that can transfer quickly to online learning. For physical education instructors, this is a challenge to the very structure of their curriculum. The nature of physical education in classes or after school programs relates entirely to out-of-the-seat movement; instructors must now translate their same real-time ideas to virtual learning.

At SHAPE America, resources for physical education instructors exist in plenty to help them transition to virtual learning. This fantastic organization has a collection of ideas and methods to support physical education instructors transition to teaching through a screen. SHAPE America helps physical education program developers generate interactive virtual physical activity lessons without losing rigor or purpose.

The site offers instructors helpful tips and well thought out tasks to develop materials for children to use at home as instruction shifts to online platforms. SHAPE America updates their content regularly, and instructors will find new ideas to fill their bag of tricks quickly. Rather than reinvent the wheel or spend valuable planning time figuring out ways to use an online platform, SHAPE America streamlines the lesson planning so that instructors can maximize their efforts instead of struggling against the process.

Not a New Normal

By trade, educators are resourceful. They are some of the most flexible and adaptable professionals. Even in a pandemic, there are resources available to support teachers so that children can learn and be healthy, even at home.

About the Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

How Budget Cuts Have Created a Health Epidemic in Students

It’s no big secret that physical fitness is essential to living a long and healthy life, yet Physical Education is only mandatory in 8 of the 50 states. In the recent decade, the obesity epidemic in America has been at the forefront of health crises. It leads many to wonder, why are budget cuts toward Physical Education in schools so frequent?

The sad reality is that many K-12 school districts throughout the U.S. rely on high test scores to secure funding. Budgets are focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, while “non-essential” programs like art, music, and physical education are overlooked.

Underfunding, or in some cases total defunding of these programs, is incredibly detrimental to developing children’s health and well-being. Budget reductions to physical education and after school programs have contributed significantly to creating a health epidemic in students across the country.

Daily exercise is crucial to the positive development of children’s bodies and minds. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children ages 5-17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.

Sometimes, Physical Education class is the only way for children with busy parents to receive structured time for physical activity. Participation in after school sports or travel sports programs is a privilege not afforded to many. When kids lose out on the opportunity for exercise because of budget issues, they are affected in a variety of ways, both physically and mentally.

The problems that come with a lack of adequate exercise lead to irreversible mental and physical health issues, like cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes, depression, and other severe ailments that contribute to the ongoing health epidemic faced by young Americans every day.

How Budget Cuts Created a Health Epidemic in Students

Budget cuts are a stepping stone to a major health epidemic in American students. When government agencies slash physical education budgets, they think they’re saving themselves money. While this may be true in the short term, over time, it will wind up being much more costly than expected.

Childhood obesity is steadily on the rise annually, while heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women of all ethnicities. Every 37 seconds, someone in the United States dies of cardiovascular disease. Without access to physical activity in schools, that person could be any of these underserved children in the future.

Kids need daily exercise, or else they are at a higher risk of serious diseases. Additionally, a lack of physical activity can impact mental health and performance in school.

Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is steadily on the rise annually. According to the CDC, the number of obese young people in the United States has more than tripled since the 1980s. The CDC’s data from 2015-2016 found that 1 in 5 children aged 6 to 19 is obese. So what exactly are budget cuts saving government agencies? In essence, nothing.

Each year in the United States, $147 billion is spent on obesity-related healthcare costs. So while the impacts of physical education budget cuts might not be immediately apparent, it can lead to incredibly costly expenditures for public and private medical facilities in the long run. Childhood obesity has been attributed to several other long-term complications like:

  • High cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Impaired glucose tolerances or insulin resistance
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Joint and musculoskeletal problems
  • Liver disease
  • Acid reflux
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Depression and other mental health issues
  • Type 2 diabetes

By cutting off funding for programs that promote a healthy lifestyle, children are exponentially more likely to be at risk for childhood obesity and obesity-related illnesses.

Type 2 Diabetes

Because of the obesity epidemic, rates of Type 2 diabetes are rising at an alarmingly fast in children. Diabetes can lead to a plethora of severe health issues and, ultimately, death. Some of the complications and ailments brought on by Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Cataracts
  • Kidney failure
  • Nerve damage leading to amputation
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Clogged veins and arteries
  • High cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

While diabetes is a manageable disease, there is still no guarantee of the risks and outcomes presented later.

Mental Health

The second leading cause of death in young people ages 10 to 24 is suicide. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are an increasingly concerning part of the health epidemic faced by America’s children today.

Boston Children’s Hospital estimates that nearly one of every eight children between the ages of 6 and 12 has suicidal thoughts. The fact that exercise can minimize the risks of depression and suicide in children and young adults is widely accepted. During physical exertion, our brains let out endorphins, which release the energy to keep us feeling good. Without regular exercise, children’s bodies and minds can suffer severely.

Depression also arises prominently in obese or overweight children, especially if they are teased or bullied. This can result in slipping grades and anger issues, furthering the cycle of depression.

What Kids Are Really Losing Out On

When kids don’t receive the recommended amount of daily exercise, their overall physical health and well-being are negatively impacted. Regular exercise promotes healthy lifestyle habits that continue into adulthood.

School health programs teach kids the value of nutrition and taking care of your body. Physical Education promotes increased endurance and flexibility, fine-tuned motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and strengthens muscles and bones. It also improves communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills that are reflected in the classroom.

Lack of physical fitness leads to the ailments contributing to the ongoing health epidemic in our country. Childhood obesity leads to further health problems down the road and puts children at a higher risk of depression and suicide.

By cutting off funding to Physical Education programs in the United States, federal and state government agencies are directly contributing to the ongoing health epidemic in the country. Pennies can be pinched now, but lives can’t be saved later. Physical health should be prioritized in school systems before this epidemic becomes irreversible.

About The Author

Sandy Slade is the CEO & Founder of Skillastics®, the #1 on-site and virtual physical activity resource for groups of children of all sizes.  The on-site programs are designed around Skillatsics Activity Kits.  These Activity kits include an innovative technique of play, executed on an oversize mat, where up to 100 children can play at one time.

The virtual programs provide students with an amazing variety of physical activity experiences that consist of 30 days of content lasting 30-40 minutes a day taught by national experts.

Skillastics® is enjoyed by over 10 million students in more than 25,000 Physical Education and After School settings nationwide.

For more information, email info@skillastics.com or check out www.skillastics.com.

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