Adding 30 minutes of exercise into the school day

Girls Playing With Hop Balls


Across the state, 321 public elementary schools have taken the Power Up for 30 pledge, committing to incorporating 30 or more minutes of exercise into the daily routine — including everything from Zumba and yoga classes before the first bell rings to walking and running clubs after school and 10-minute deskercize and “brain boosters” such as jogging in place next to your desk.

Based on the 2013 Fitnessgram results (annual fitness assessments), 41 percent of Georgia kids are at an unhealthy weight, which includes children who are underweight, but the vast majority of those kids outside this healthy weight zone are overweight or obese. (Exact breakdown is not available.)

An analysis of 39 schools implementing the new physical activity programs has shown some encouraging results already — including more fit kids who are seeing their  BMIs decrease. The exercise programs are being woven into the classwork, too. For example children in the study wore pedometers, and the kids would not only record their steps in booklets, but also turn the steps into a math problem — figuring out the average number of steps each day or charting their steps on a graph.

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Georgia health officials celebrated the results, but they acknowledged more work needs to be done.

Those schools that have signed up to take the Power Up pledge represent only about 25 percent of all public elementary schools in the state.

Has your school signed up for “Power Up for 30”?

You can go to the following website to see if your school has signed up.

Children need 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The activity can be moderate, but should make the heart beat faster and breathing heavier than normal. Here are some ways to encourage your children to get 60 minutes of exercise every day:

Encourage your child to fully participate in physical education class.

Check with your child’s physical education teacher to see what you can do at home to help improve your child’s health and fitness level.

Help your child be prepared for class with comfortable clothes and athletic shoes.

Encourage your child to be physically active at recess by playing games and sports.

Encourage your child’s school to offer walking clubs or other activity programs during recess or after school.

Playing sports is a great way to get exercise. But playing a team sport is not for everyone. If your child is not interested, don’t force the issue but try other ways to be active such as bicycling, yoga, dance and karate.

Talk to your school about developing ways to increase physical activity throughout the day.




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