ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Nine million American students are packing on too many pounds, but just as kids are being told to exercise more, they're finding fewer opportunities to break a sweat during the school day. Teachers have found a free program to help move the scales in the right direction.
The physical education classes of the old days are disappearing now.
"Unfortunately with budget cuts, our P.E. instruction time has been cut," Tiffany McGinley, Kindergarten/First Grade Teacher, told Ivanhoe.
Only six states require the recommended 150 minutes of elementary physical education a week, and just three states have 20 minutes of mandatory recess a day.
At this school for autistic children, there's one P.E. teacher for all 160 students. This is helping the kids stay active.
'Adventure to Fitness' is a free interactive workout for kids that exercises students' bodies and minds.
Marc Loyd "aka" Mr. Marc, is the Adventure Leader for 'Adventure to Fitness.' He leads adventures for 60,000 teachers in 11,000 schools. These adventures get kids running, hopping, squatting, and leaping for 30 minutes straight.
"We're never telling our adventurers, is what we call them, to do a jumping jack, but there is always a reason behind why you might do jumping jacks in one of the episodes, it's because you're cold and your down in a cavern so you need to do jumping jacks in order to get warm," Mr. Marc, told Ivanhoe.
Luis Hernandez is the lone gym teacher for 800 kids. He said the program is making a difference.
"The kids are more active, they're more willing to exercise and do things they wouldn't try before," Luis Hernandez, P.E. Teacher, told Ivanhoe.
Besides losing gym classes, kids are giving up on sports and playing outside. According to the C.D.C., more than 60 percent of kids ages nine to 13 do not participate in sports, and worse yet, 23 percent don't engage in any free time physical activity at all. 'Adventure to Fitness' has a home version to get kids moving at night, on the weekends, and over the summer. It's $30 for three 30 minute episodes. You can find out more at www.adventuretofitness.com .
KIDS AND EXERCISE:To reap the most benefits from exercise, it is recommended that children between the ages of six and 17 have at least one hour of moderate exercise a day. This physical activity can be activities as simple as riding a bike or playing tag with friends. Doing bone-strengthening activities like jumping rope or running is especially important for kids, because they gain the largest amount of bone mass in the years before puberty. Overall, children receiving enough physical activity have stronger bones and muscles; higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, and lower body fatness. Daily physical activity also sets up children to be healthier adults with a reduced risk for health problems like type-2 diabetes. (Source:www.health.gov)
RECESS: Exercise is especially important for children's health and can improve their time spent at school. A study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York found that if children have as little as 15 minutes of recess a day they will actually behave better while in class. Physical activity for even a small amount of time during the day allows children to take a break from their lessons to rest and re-energize their brains. Furthermore, 42 percent of kids in the United States receive most of their daily exercise during recess according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study. Unfortunately, many schools, an estimated 40 percent, have cut their recess programs due to either lack of funding, time, or supervision. (Source: www.cnn.com)
EXERCISE RESOURCES:Common activities for children have changed in the past few decades from playing outside or riding bikes to spending most of their free time in front of the television or computer screen. One way parents can fight off this sedentary lifestyle is through exercise videos like Adventure to Fitness. Websites like Nick Jr., offers new games for kids to try at home and it even has printable game equipment. There are many steps that can be taken to ensure your child's health; and even simple encouragement to spend time outside can go a long way. (Source: www.livestrong.com)
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