Monday, November 4, 2013

Improving Physical Activity in the Schools

Youth ages 6-17 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Most of the 60 minutes should be moderate or vigorous intensity, such as playing basketball, jumping rope, dancing, playing tag, walking, and running. Include muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups, and bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, at least three days per week as part of the 60 or more minutes.

Parents, teachers, school principals and other school staff can team up to improve physical activity in schools in a variety of ways:
  • Join a school health council, if one exists. If none exist, begin by working with the superintendent or principal to create a health council at the school or district level.
  • Assess your school’s physical activity policies and practices through the School Health Index, an assessment and planning tool. Schools also can use this tool to improve physical activity policies and practices.
  • Provide recess every day for at least 20 minutes for elementary school students.
  • Incorporate physical activity breaks into the classroom.
  • Include more moderate to vigorous physical activity in afterschool programs.

Many tools and resources exist to help improve physical activity in schools: