Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School
Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School
Get 60 Minutes: Ways for students to get the recommended amouint of physical activity during the school day.
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Active Transportation

Active transport or active commuting refers to the use of walking, biking, or other human-powered methods.

How far is the walk to school?

Distance to school

Distance to School

(ages 5 to 18 years)

Some children walk less than 1 mile to school
< 1 mi.

Some children walk 1 to 1.9 miles to school
1-1.9mi.

Some children walk 2 to 2.9 miles to school
2-2.9mi.

Some children walk more than 3 miles to school
3+ mi.
Walking school bus
A volunteer adult can lead groups of students to school in a walking school bus.  Similar to a traditional school bus, the group follows a set route and picks up students along the way.
Excellent way to encourage morning activity for those who live too far to actively commute.
Before school programs
Activities are similar to after-school programs, including intramural sports, music, and arts.

Classroom Activity Time

Just 15 minutes of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity during frequent regular classroom breaks has been shown to decrease body mass index (BMI) in students over a period of 2 years.
Teachers can lead activities Students participate in activities Students participate in activities
Breaks can be taken during or in between lessons for teachers to lead students in movement in the classroom.
Active lessons allow students to stand and move around the classroom while doing academic activities.
Group projects provide opportunities to get out of their desks and encourage movement.

Optimize Classrooms for Activity

These examples show how a classroom can be set up in ways to maximize space for movement and physical activity.

Optimize your classroom Optimize your classroom

Recess

Recess has been shown to have a positive impact not only on the development of students' social skills but also on achievement and learning in the classroom.

The Benefits of Recess

  • Recess reduces stress
    Reduces Stress
  • Recess decreases restlessness
    Decreases Restlessness
  • Recess teaches conflict/problem-solving
    Teaches Conflict/Problem Solving
  • Recess develops cognitive abilities
    Develops Cognitive Abilities

Make the Most of Recess

Make the most of recess An adult should supervise recess but also engage children in activities that keep them moving for the full recess period, and are trained in playground management. Children need access to equipment that enables them to move and be active, but also safe. Secondary school children can participate in civic- or service-oriented programs where they oversee recess for younger children. Recess should provide a variety of activities but also encourage free play.

Physical Education Class

Physical education classes not only have similar health and social benefits of recess, but also educate children on a healthy lifestyle.
Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, nearly half of school administrators (44%) reported cutting significant time from physical education and recess to increase time spent in reading and mathematics.
Tipping the scales away from PE
But, children who are more active show greater attention and perform better on standardized tests.
Kids playing basketball
48-69% of students do not attend physical education classes in an average week.

P.E. Time Should Include...

  • A variety of sports, activities, and forms of movement that are novel, appeal most to children, and are geographically appropriate, including but not limited to water sports, winter sports, skateboarding, and active gaming.
  • Teachers that are trained and certified in physical education – not all educators can provide optimal physical education, as teaching physical education effectively and safely requires specific knowledge about children and their physical and mental development.
  • Equipment and facilities that are adequate and safe.
  • All students moving for the full period and involved in games that keep them moving as much as possible. Moreover, all activities should be inclusive of all students.
  • Physical activity that is not assigned or withheld as punishment.
  • At least half of allotted time reserved for vigorous activity.
  • School districts should provide high-quality curricular physical education for a set minimum number of minutes per day or week, depending on scheduling (30 min/day or 150 min/week for elementary students and 45 min/day or 225 min/week for middle and high school students).

After-School Programs

After-school programs should provide opportunities for students to be physically active indoors or outdoors.

Make the most of after-school programs

Limited sitting Supportive and trained staff No screen time

Intra & Extramural Sports

Intra and extramural sports provide additional school-based opportunities for organized physical activity.
Schools need to offer sports that...
Sports that are not pay-to-play Sports that are not pay-to-play
Sports that are inclusive Sports that are inclusive
In the past 40 years, involvement in sports has flourished, not only in the number of students engaged, but also in the range of sports being offered. By providing a wide range of sports to choose from, students with varying interests have the opportunity to participate. Playing sports may lead to the enjoyment of physical activities over the lifetime.
Percent of schools that offer sports
76.4%
Basketball
76.4%
Basketball
57.3%
Volleyball
57.3%
Volleyball
53%
Football
53%
Football
52.1%
Track & Field
52.1%
Track & Field
50.9%
Cheerleading
50.9%
Cheerleading
45.2%
Softball
45.2%
Softball
38.9%
CC Running
38.9%
CC Running
35.7%
Baseball
35.7%
Baseball
32.3%
Soccer
32.3%
Soccer
28.7%
Wrestling
28.7%
Wrestling
22.1%
Golf
22.1%
Golf
12.6%
Tennis
12.6%
Tennis
9.9%
Weight Lifting
9.9%
Weight Lifting
7.1%
Field Hockey
7.1%
Field Hockey
6.9%
Swimming
6.9%
Swimming
5.2%
Gymnastics
5.2%
Gymnastics
4.2%
Badminton
4.2%
Badminton
3.2%
CC Skiing
3.2%
CC Skiing
3%
Bowling
3%
Bowling
2.4%
Ice Hockey
2.4%
Ice Hockey
2.1%
Lacrosse
2.1%
Lacrosse
2.1%
Rifling
2.1%
Rifling
0.5%
Water Polo
0.5%
Water Polo
90.9%
Basketball
90.9%
Basketball
79.6%
Baseball
79.6%
Baseball
77.9%
Softball
77.9%
Softball
77.3%
Cheerleading
77.3%
Cheerleading
73.2%
Track & Field
73.2%
Track & Field
71.4%
Volleyball
71.4%
Volleyball
71%
Football
71%
Football
68.4%
CC Running
68.4%
CC Running
68.4%
Golf
68.4%
Golf
60.3%
Soccer
60.3%
Soccer
53%
Tennis
53%
Tennis
49.6%
Wrestling
49.6%
Wrestling
37.8%
Swimming
37.8%
Swimming
23.8%
Weight Lifting
23.8%
Weight Lifting
17.2%
Bowling
17.2%
Bowling
14.3%
Ice Hockey
14.3%
Ice Hockey
10.2%
Field Hockey
10.2%
Field Hockey
10.1%
Gymnastics
10.1%
Gymnastics
7.2%
Badminton
7.2%
Badminton
5.9%
CC Skiing
5.9%
CC Skiing
3.8%
Lacrosse
3.8%
Lacrosse
3.8%
Rifling
3.8%
Rifling
2.6%
Water Polo
2.6%
Water Polo
Even with busy schedules, there are numerous ways to get the recommended amount of physical activity in every school day.
How will students get 60 minutes at your school?
60 Minutes of Activity